What is going to be the fate of the Green Card Lottery? What is going to happen to all those people from across the world with hopes of making a life for themselves in the United States by winning the visa lottery?
It looks like the Green Card Lottery is going away for good. The Diversity Visa Lottery was started by the US government with the intention of diversifying the immigrants in the country; to encourage more immigrants from countries that did not regularly see big numbers of people moving to live and work in the United States permanently.
Since its inception, the visa lottery is conducted every year between October and December, and later October and November, and eligible participants need to submit electronic applications during the registration period for that particular year. The following May, a computer picks up about double the number of entries as there are visas available. This is so that all visas are used. The winners are informed and need to go ahead with the green card process to get the immigrant visa and enter the United States.
Now, with the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill being introduced and up for debate, if it gets passed, the lottery will be shown the door. This is bad news for the millions of people from around the world who eagerly want to try their luck at winning the visa. This is their only hope of entering the United States, since most often than not, they are not high skilled, like people from India or China, which means they cannot get work visas or green cards through employment; nor do they have US citizen or permanent resident relatives to sponsor them for green cards. For those who do, if they happen to be a relative other than the spouse of unmarried child below 21 years of age, the wait time could run into years before they can get a green card.
The 55,000 visas that were available through the green card lottery will be taken away, per the proposed bill. There will be other immigration categories, especially employment, which will see an increase in the number of green cards available. The idea is to make it easier for persons who graduate in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from US universities to get green cards. The family based immigration categories will be benefited as well.
While the Green Card Lottery did benefit people from countries who would not have otherwise been able to get the much coveted visa, the program also opened up avenues for scamsters. The US Department of State (DOS) has been revamping the program regularly to make it difficult for imposters to cheat innocent participants of their money, often quite a huge amount for them considering their economic situations. When the DOS used to inform winners through mail, fraudsters were out sending mails impersonating the US government and telling unknowing victims that they had won the lottery and had to deposit money to an account in order to further process the visa. Innocent victims readily transferred the money believing that they had won the lottery. Once the US government stopped sending mails, the fraudsters started using the phone to scam people. This is the only good to come from the stopping of the program – people will not get unwittingly robbed of their money.
Everything said and done, it now looks like the dreams of millions of people around the world will be dashed. If the Immigration Reform Bill is passed, the Green Card Lottery will go away.