End of US Green Card Lottery (Diversity Visa Lottery)?

Since 1995, the Diversity Visa Lottery otherwise known as the Green Card Lottery gives 55,000 permanent residency visas or “green cards” to foreigners (and their families) to come and live and work in the US with no restrictions. It also ultimately allows the foreigner to eventually apply for US citizenship. To many, particularly in parts of the work where economic, political or social hardship is a way of life, this chance offers the hope that they too can live their dreams.

There is no charge to enter the Green Card lottery. Therefore for many foreigners where visas like the E3 work visa, H1B work visa, J1 Work and Travel Visa, J1 Internship visa, F1 Student visa and even the B1 tourist visa or tourist waiver among others are prohibitive due to obscure criteria or sheer cost to apply, travel and otherwise be eligible, the diversity visa lottery provides a way to first enter the US and begin a new life. 15 million hopefully applied for Dv-2012 Green Card Lottery in October and November last year which shows the popularity and the hope it gives so many around the globe.

The only information required were as follows below meaning that the barrier to entry is relatively low. The only main prohibitive factors were lack of at least a high school education for the primary adult, being at least 18 years of age, not being a security risk, not being a health risk or having a criminal history and finally not being from a select few countries. The reason certain countries’ citizens are excluded each year is due to the previous US Immigration year (October 1 – September 30), there being a significant threshold of that nation’s citizens becoming US permanent residents.

This is the information you have to give on the Green Card Lottery application.
1.
FULL NAME
2.
DATE OF BIRTH
3.
GENDER
4. CITY WHERE YOU WERE BORN5. COUNTRY WHERE YOU WERE BORN
6.
COUNTRY OF ELIGIBILITY OR CHARGEABILITY FOR THE DV PROGRAM
7.
ENTRY PHOTOGRAPH(S)
8. MAILING ADDRESS

9. COUNTRY WHERE YOU LIVE TODAY
10. PHONE NUMBER

11. E-MAIL ADDRESS

12. WHAT IS THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF EDUCATION YOU HAVE ACHIEVED, AS OF TODAY?

13. MARITAL STATUS

14. NUMBER OF CHILDREN

15. SPOUSE INFORMATION

16. CHILDREN INFORMATION

In recent years these were some of the main countries EXCLUDED from participating in the annual Green Card Lottery;
BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, PERU, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.

Now is the Green Lottery About to End….

Due to the Great Recession in the US, combined with rise of fringe elements within all sides of the US political spectrum, the pressure on programs like this and the H1B visa have intensified. Despite numerous studies showing that strong US immigration creates jobs and grows the economy, not to mention that it has and is still is the genesis of the American DNA which has made it the world’s largest economy and only superpower. The combined factors of  short sighted and opportunistic politicians, ignorant constituents and a complicit media has meant that negative pressure on foreigners in the last 4 years in the US has grown excedingly worse.

In addition to this, a major stuff up by the US State Department in announcing the Green Card Lottery winners in May 2011, forced a recall 12 days later and a redraw and subsequent reannouncement of winners on July 15, 2011. This gave a window for many of the anti-lottery proponents to pounce due to the increased media attention as the whole lottery is largely unknown to the American people.

Interestingly and unlikely ally has emerged in Foreign Immigrants (or more accurately what the US government calls non-immigrants) who are currently in the US on work visas or studying at US academic institutions particularly at the Graduate and phD level. Apart from the Green Card Lottery and direct Family sponsorship, the major avenue to a Green Card is sponsorship via an Employer under the EB2 and EB3 visa categories.

However due to long wait lists, non-sensical application criteria, costs and timelines and limited flexibility for an Immigrant, this option is frustrating and arduous as well. However many immigrants who have ensured years of long and difficult study and working in the same role for lesser pay and opportunities than their local counterparts with the constant danger (particularly in recent times) of job loss and having to return home immediately, watching others who just fill out an online form jumping the queue has been for some particularly hard to endure.

Some of the more rationale Green Card Lottery elimination proponents have proposed replacing the 55,000 Green Cards in the lottery to giving it to foreign graduates of US Academic Institutions in Engineering, Science, Technology and Media with Graduate or phD level degrees. Others argue this discounts the many foreigners who have show immense skills in the workplace and particularly in the start up world where so many new jobs and industries have been created benefiting the entire US economy.

Whatever the eventual result of this debate may be it is likely DV-2013 Green Card Lottery will still be held as normal in October and November 2011 with winners announced in May 2012. There currently is legislation before the US congress to end the Green Card Lottery. However it is our hope the US continues to be a vibrant economy and continues to realize the enormous value and potential of a constantly evolving society bring to all Americans.

Cj

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