Self-employment options in EB2 EAD while pending GC

#1
Person: I am an international student from a country where the EB2 priority date is current. I am just completing a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, with applications to mathematical modeling for problems that arise in cardiovascular diseases, and also show up in aerodynamics. I submitted an EB2 NIW application (concurrent filing) in February 2020 (based on my masters degree, my publications, and letters of recommendation from some medical experts that I've never met, and a professor in my field who vouches that even without the PhD yet I have a strong profile). In my application I made arguments for national relevance based on medical importance of the work. The USCIS got my thumbprints just before the coronavirus lockdown - then they sent me a letter saying they are continuing to work on it despite the lockdown. Since I already applied for NIW, I can't get OPT. When I applied in February I was hoping to have the EAD in hand by the time I graduate, but that hasn't happened by now. I am in "pending Adjustment of status" status meanwhile, since my student status will expire. I seem to have a strong application so I think I might get the Adjustment of Status.

Question: Many opportunities in my field are restricted to US citizens and permanent residents, so until I get a GC I can't take most of those jobs - and it has only gotten worse with the coronavirus outbreak. This creates a problem since the NIW requires me to start working in that field. So once I get the EAD I plan to register my own company in the US, and under that company I will be self-employed and continue doing research in the field, without being paid by anyone. However with a PhD in Applied Mathematics, there are many employers who want me to do things like data science, machine learning, financial modeling and other such things - but they don't care about security clearance as long as I have a work permit. However these are all outside my NIW field so I have been ignoring recruiters. Is it possible for me to take a side-job in one of these things unrelated to my NIW, to actually make money, while I am self-employed for the sake of NIW using my EAD, until I get a GC?

Poor and unemployed grad student here - can't afford legal services right now. Just trying to figure out options as I am graduating. My plan is to do this until I get the GC and then I can stop being self-employed and apply to a national laboratory, medical facility or DoD-funded projects that are actually in my NIW field, since I can now get the clearance needed. Thanks!
 
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#2
An NIW applicant is not required to have a job offer, as long as there is an intent to work in the field you claim to have exceptional ability in. I suppose that normally, it would be hard to believe that a person who is unable to find a job actually has exceptional ability justifying a national interest waiver. However, these are unprecedented times. If there are no available jobs in your field because of Covid-19, then document your job search process now and for a few months after your I-485 is approved (if you have not already gotten a job by then). This should satisfy the requirement that you intend to work in the field.

When you receive your AOS EAD, you can use it to work for any employer (including yourself), any combination of employers, or not at all. The intent to be employed in your specific field only applies after you get your green card.
 
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