Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Diversty Visa Program to be Replaced?

 Apparently, there is a proposal to end the diversity visa program (also known as the lottery), and replace it with more immigrant visas for those who earn advanced degrees in science and technology.

The diversity visa program is essentially a lottery.  The visas are available by country, based on how many people come to the United States from those countries.  Countries like Mexico, the Philippines, India and China, where there are a lot of immigrants coming to the United States, wind up with none of the visas, while immigrants from countries like Nepal and Morocco have a better shot.

A person who wants to immigrate enters a lottery.  If they win, they get a chance to apply for that visa.  But, the visa is only available to people who have certain degrees or skills.  Cooks, for example, would not qualify for a diversity visa.

The program is confusing, since the requirements are not well publicized.  This means that at times the winners of the lottery only find out later that they do not actually qualify for the visa.

In my opinion, the program needs reform.  But, I am not sure I would scrap it altogether.

Update (9/25/2012):  The Republican bill failed.  It seems that there is a sharp difference between the parties on whether it is necessary to cut the diversity visa program in order to add new visas for science, technology, engineering and math graduates.  Personally, I don't get why immigration needs to be a zero-sum game.  I think the diversity visa program needs some sort of reform.  But without it, there are a large number of people in small countries who may never get a chance to experience the American dream.

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