The Wall Street Journal reports today that more than 15,000 people applied for the US green-card lottery, the highest number ever recorded.
The majority of applications came from Bangladesh and Nigeria. The green-card lottery is the US version of a diversity visa program, in which 50,000 people from various countries meeting eligibility requirements are pulled from the group and put on the visa fast track. Winners are given permanent, legal US residence. Applicants are able to enter for free online. Countries who already have a large representation of immigrants living in the US are not eligible.
Five years ago, only 5.5 million people worldwide applied for the lottery. That number has burgeoned dramatically, mainly because of word-of-mouth advertising. In May 2011, 100,000 applicants will be randomly selected and prescreened with interviews and medical exams. Half of those will be given green cards.
According to the WSJ article, critics say the program poses security risks, lures uneducated immigrants and enables individuals with no connection to the U.S. to get into the country more quickly than those sponsored by relatives and employers.
“More and more people are learning about this program and are dumbfounded that we have it in the first place,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), who has introduced legislation to abolish it. “Our chances have never been better to kill it,” he added, following his party’s successes in the midterm elections and amid high unemployment in the U.S.
Source: DiversityNews, WSJ
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