The Department of Labor’s “Study Abroad” program was originally conceived to help U.S. companies recruit and train foreign employees for low-wage jobs.
The Labor Department estimates that there are about 2 million people employed in the U.K., France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Singapore, and India who are studying abroad.
Now, the Department of Homeland Security is helping to train them to work in the United States.
The study abroad students, known as EB-1s, will be eligible for one-year employment in the American labor force if they pass the federal employment eligibility exam.
They must be willing to live and work in a country that offers a high-paying job and are able to take classes in a related field.
EB-2s will need to pass the same examination, and can then apply to become U.A.E. students.
Both EB-5 and EB-6s are more specific to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, where EB-7s are also available.
The EB-4s are in the Southeast, the EB-3s in Europe, and the EB “other” groups are in North America, Africa, and Latin America.
In addition to a U.L.T. degree, students must also be eligible to receive the U-2 visa, which is a temporary visa that allows U.s. citizens to work temporarily in the country for a limited time.
But they can stay for up to a year, so long as they are not seeking employment in a U:S.
EB5 students are also eligible for a waiver of the 10 percent cap on wages earned by those who complete the U:L.A., U:B.T., or U:C.T.* While the EB5 is a much shorter-term work visa, the program is open to more skilled workers, like those who need a higher education degree, and those who are seeking work outside the United Kingdom or France.
The program has a very specific focus, however, and students can’t be given permission to live abroad and live there as long as there are “significant” opportunities in the other countries.
The number of EB-500 and EB4-1 students increased dramatically from 1.5 million to 3.3 million between the beginning of 2019 and the end of 2020, according to the DHS.
The DHS estimates that between 2020 and 2024, roughly one-third of the EB students will have completed their degree and will be working in the labor force.
“It’s really a very important thing,” said Jennifer Fishell, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
“The government needs to be investing in them.”
Fisheim, who has researched the EB program, said it is important for companies to be able to hire foreign workers to fill gaps in their workforce, but she said the program has to be careful to keep it affordable and fair.
“You have to be very careful about not putting the entire cost on to taxpayers,” she said.
EB students can also be paid in a number of ways.
Some companies pay them cash wages or by working in their home countries, while others will offer incentives like relocation assistance.
The Department has also begun offering grants to companies to help pay the costs of working in another country.
“These are not wages for the sake of the wages,” Fisheimer said.
“They are not a way for companies in the program to take advantage of the visa.”
The EB students also are eligible for special immigration benefits, including the H-2B work visa.
H-1B visa holders are typically not allowed to work at the same companies as their U.H.-1B spouses.
“This means that if you have a family member working in your company, you are not eligible to apply for a H- visa,” Fitch said.
While the program was designed to encourage employers to hire immigrants, Fishel added that the EB student population is likely to be a “very important” factor in the next wave of U.k. companies looking to hire from abroad.
“One of the things that is particularly important to companies in other parts of the world is that they can see that their workforce is going to be larger,” she explained.
“And if that workforce is a little bit older and a little more educated, it could really be a win-win situation.”