The system that hands out diversity immigrant visas is known as the “green card lottery.” Every year, as many as 14 million people seek to win one of 50,000 diversity immigrant visas.
We highlight how diversity immigrant visas work on our blog. It’s targeted at countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
The chances of winning the “green card lottery” is about 0.3 percent, states Voice of America.
Foreign residents who attain diversity immigrant visas get to live in the United States and may later attain citizenship. But the green card lottery is under threat.
Recent legislation submitted by two Republican lawmakers would discontinue the lottery. Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia penned legislation that would end it after 22 years.
Their proposal also calls for a reduction in the number of immigrants and refugees allowed to enter the United States every year.
The SAFE for America Act would spell an end to diversity immigrant visas if it’s enacted. While both Republican and Democrats attempted to end the diversity program in 2016, the proposal was buried in other legislation that failed to pass.
Voice of America stated the legislation is more likely to succeed this time. Unlike last year, Republicans control both Houses of Congress and the White House. It’s also in line with President Donald Trump’s restrictions on immigration.
Announcing their bill, the two senators claimed it would help the effort to raise the wages of Americans. Perdue said it was part of the effort to fix so-called shortcomings in the existing immigration system.
Is There a Link Between Diversity Immigrant Visas and Jobs and Wages?
However, some researchers say it’s almost impossible to prove there is a link between diversity immigrant visas and jobs and wages.
Opponents of the green card lottery say people requesting the visa are sometimes lying about key details. In a report a decade ago, the U.S. Government referenced fraud in relation to the program. However, the State Department subsequently improved the application process to reduce the likelihood of abuse.
The countries that are eligible to apply for the green card lottery in 2018 include Spain, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Romania, Japan, Russia, and Nepal.
Diversity immigrant visas are one of the few ways foreigners can legally move to the United States if they are not refugees or are not sponsored. Successful applicants must have a high school education or a work history to qualify.
In 2015, just 48,097 diversity visas were handed out by the United States, less than 10 percent of all immigrant visas given that year, reported Voice of America.
At Peek & Toland , we help applicants for a wide variety of immigrant and non-immigrant visas in Texas. Call us at (512) 474-4445 for more details.