Career News, Updates & Insights

From Venezuela to the US—How CRA supported my visa needs

by Gustavo Grau Bolivar

As an international student at The University of Chicago, I felt the same apprehension that many of my peers felt before entering the workforce in the United States. I had a keen interest in law and economics, good grades, and a fantastic internship at Charles River Associates, but I constantly worried about which company would sponsor me.

I’m originally from Venezuela, which is a complicated country to hail from if you anticipate working in the United States. My apprehension was more than just retaining a position at a fantastic firm. The alternative was to return to my home country, which at the time was full of civil unrest, violence, and the most profound economic decline in the history of the western hemisphere.

When CRA extended me a full-time offer in the fall, I was beyond thrilled. Not only had the firm allowed me a great opportunity to apply my skills and knowledge to real-world cases, but it helped me navigate the complexities of immigration in more ways than I would have expected. CRA’s Global Immigration Counsel Manmeet Desai, along with her team and outside counsel, helped me navigate the H-1B application process. I remember calling Manmeet from Caracas, anxiously explaining that it would be difficult to return to the United States with a valid passport because of the shortage of supplies in the country. She never yielded and labored intently to allow me to stay and work in the United States.

Looking back on this experience, I am now in the best situation I could have hoped for, one that felt distant only two years ago: working in economic consulting under my H1-B. I am grateful to work for a firm that prioritizes diversity and proud to be among the 20% of my Chicago-based colleagues that are from abroad.

Watch the videos below to learn more about CRA’s immigration support services: