Here is another edit from “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.
“Your questions are vital to the dissemination of knowledge that empowers people around the world to rise beyond borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people operations, founding, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.
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I’m so worried and stressed about all the layoffs! I’m safe for now, but this made me realize that I have to take control of my own destiny. Are there visas or green cards that I can apply for on my own without depending on my employer?
— Stressed silicon
Congratulations on taking the first step toward determining your own immigration destiny – and having peace of mind.
Let me answer your question about green cards first, because recent developments are impacting the timing of the two green cards that individuals can apply for on their own: the EB-1A Green Card with Extraordinary Abilities and the EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver). Individuals can apply for the EB-1A or EB-2 NIW without an employer sponsor or even a job offer.
Last week, the US State Department released its December 2022 Visa Bulletinwhich shows which green card applications can go forward based on the number of green cards available in each category and the number available for people born in certain countries with high rates of immigration to the United States, such as India and China.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) releases a monthly report detailing whether or not they will accept Adjusted Status Applications – the final step in the green card process, along with an interview – depending on the State Department’s final action dates or filing dates. . USCIS December reportreleased last week, states that USCIS will accept the I-485 adjustment of status petitions based on filing dates.
File for EB-1 NOW!
If you are eligible to apply for an EB-1A green card, you should file as soon as possible — and file your I-140 green card application and your I-485 adjustment of status simultaneously. The reason for the urgency is that while the EB-1 green card category remains current in December for all people regardless of birthplace, this is expected to change for people born in India or China.
Due to the high demand for EB-1 green cards and the decrease in the number of green cards available this fiscal year compared to the previous one, the Department of State plans to impose cut-off dates for people born in India and in China. If this applies to you, speak to your immigration attorney now to move forward quickly.
Each fiscal year, 140,000 employment-based green cards are available, as well as all unused family-class green cards from the previous fiscal year. This fiscal year (fiscal year 2023), USCIS estimates that there will be 197,000 green cards available compared to the previous fiscal year (fiscal year 2022), when there were 281,507 green cards. I have long advocated increasing the cap on the number of employment-based green cards available each year and eliminating the per-country cap on employment-based green cards, both of which require congressional action.