SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Babson College and at least five other U.S. universities have adopted a new approach with H-1B visas to retain entrepreneurs, a method which critics have said makes them guilty of exploiting a legal loophole in doing so.

University employees, or outside workers who provide services to universities, are themselves exempt from the H-1B annual cap of 85,000 and have the ability to obtain the highly sought-out visas independently. Additionally, they do not count against the cap of 20,000 H-1B visas that are reserved for students each year.

Using that exemption, these schools are now creating “global entrepreneur in residence” programs which allow some graduates to work part-time on campus, often serving in the capacity of a mentor, while they develop their businesses simultaneously. This allows graduates to say they are providing the U.S. with a service, which in turn can qualify them for the exemption and a fast route to securing a visa.

“This movement came about because of challenges that student visa holders were beginning to face when they had completed a program,” said Bill Stock, a Philadelphia attorney and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “There really aren’t a lot of other visas that would allow someone to work temporarily.”

Congress first created the exemption partly to help colleges hire researchers, which led critics to begin their cry of exploitation. In February, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa wrote a letter to the U.S. immigration chief blasting the practice as a “backhanded attempt” to curtail federal regulations. He called it a “seemingly unlawful” interpretation of the law.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has broadly opposed H-1B visas, saying they take jobs from American workers and should be banned.

In response, colleges have said they’re simply using the flexibility in the law’s language to address a growing problem — as more international students flock to the U.S. for their studies, many naturally prefer to stay in the country on completion of their degree programs and start their own businesses. However, with few avenues to navigate young entrepreneurs around the present H-1B lottery system, many are forced to return to their native countries.

“Every year, we figure Massachusetts says goodbye to over 1,000 graduate students who otherwise want to stay and start a company,” said William Brah, who leads a program to help foreign entrepreneurs at the University of Massachusetts’ Boston campus. “I mean, it’s stupid. You couldn’t come up with a more flawed immigration system if you tried.”

The UMass program is open to graduates from any U.S. college, and since its inception in 2014, it has helped 20 graduates obtain visas, their businesses in turn have created 260 jobs for the American workforce, the school says.

Smaller programs have since formed at schools such as the University of Colorado-Boulder, the University of Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University, which accept a combined six graduates per year. Babson College is now accepting 10 applications per year for entrepreneurs. At the City University of New York, a new program aims to draw 80 business owners from around the world – not just graduates of U.S. colleges.

Colleges say the programs are good for their local economies, but they also aid in recruiting the best students from abroad, a group that it just so happens are charged full tuition, unlike many domestic students.