On the first day of International Education Week, November 13, 2023, the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education released the annual Open Doors report which indicated that “the United States was once again the top destination for international study in the 2022-2023 academic year.” This made me smile because I have a special place in my heart for international students, especially since I used to be one myself. 

My international (F-1) student experience in the U.S. began at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1999 as a freshman from Kingston, Jamaica. Despite being located in a small town, the international student population at Ohio Wesleyan was quite impressive and I met many amazing international students and made life-long friends from all over the world. My journey continued at Emory School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia where I obtained my juris doctor degree. Upon graduation, I started my legal career with F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT). I then obtained H-1B status, then employment-based permanent residence, and finally U.S. citizenship.

I’ve met amazing international students over the years, both in school and beyond. This includes members of our own legal team – our associate attorneys, Natalia Muñoz (Colombia) and Vivien Li (China), as well as one of our case managers, Ritu Vellanki (India), each of whom plays a crucial role at our firm. Then of course, there are our clients.

At Garvish Immigration Law Group, LLC, we assist numerous clients with H-1B, TN, L-1, and E-2 visas as well as employment-based green cards. Many of these clients started off as international students at the beginning of their immigration journey. Upon graduation, they have pursued amazing opportunities and exciting careers. 

As an immigration attorney, I have had the opportunity to work with many international student clients, helping them with the intricacies of employment-based immigration. My personal experience with the U.S. immigration process has given me a unique perspective and understanding of my client’s concerns and the challenges they may face. As a former international student, I am honored to say I have helped countless other international students navigate their own immigration journey from student to temporary nonimmigrant employee, to permanent resident, and eventually citizenship.

International Education Week ended with International Student Day on November 17. As we celebrate International Students, I can’t help but think how difficult the immigration system has become for them, despite their contributions to the U.S. International Students help the U.S. economy thrive. They provide their academic intellect, knowledge, skills, and talent in various industries. International students also enhance the nation’s cultural environment by providing cross-cultural experiences and contributing to diversity and multiculturalism, all of which are extremely important in our globalized world and economy. Hopefully the U.S. immigration system will see these benefits and work towards improving the system for international students who decide to stay and contribute to the U.S.

As always, Garvish Immigration Law Group is here to support you in your immigration journey and provide guidance to help you achieve your goals. If you have any questions or need assistance with your nonimmigrant worker petition schedule a consultation with one of our trusted immigration attorneys. We are committed to helping you navigate the ever-evolving landscape of U.S. immigration law. 

About the Author

Nadia Deans Kalata
Managing Attorney at Garvish Immigration Law Group | (800) 951-4980 | ndeans@goimmigrationlaw.com | Profile | + posts

Nadia Deans Kalata is Senior Counsel at Garvish Immigration Law Group, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Nadia developed her passion for immigration law through her own personal experience with the immigration process in the United States. As a result, she has a unique perspective and understanding of her clients’ concerns and the challenges they face when dealing with the U.S. immigration system. Nadia has over fifteen years of experience in corporate immigration.