13 June 2016

Diversity immigrant visa - the "green card lottery"

I didn't know such visas existed until I heard about them in an interesting podcast form This American Life.
The lottery makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to natives of countries deemed to have low rates of immigration to the United States... They must satisfy general immigration requirements, such as means of support, no criminal background, and good health... Those born in any territory that has sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years are not eligible to receive a diversity visa...

[T]here have been arguments by longtime temporary legal residents in the United States against the fairness of the DV program. A situation where high skilled (H-1B and L-1 visas) workers and taxpayers remain on temporary visas in the US for years (in some cases, more than a decade) with no clear path to becoming permanent residents while 50,000 random people are picked around the world and handed permanent resident status questions the fairness of the US immigration system.


  1. A country has a right to limit immigration, just like I have a right to limit who lives in my house. Giving 50,000 people a shot who otherwise wouldn't be getting one doesn't look unfair to me.

  2. I don't know if I'd call "random" people getting permanent status over skilled workers unfair. I just don't think skill level determines fairness. One could make the case it makes economic sense for the host country to prioritize more skilled workers, but not in terms of fairness. BTW, DV visas have a requirement that you have at least a high school diploma or a proven technical proficiency (a diploma or years of experience) of some sort.

  3. There is another little known program where about 4 million random infants per year are handed full US citizenship for absolutely no good reason. They don't even have to pass a meaningful background check. Meanwhile tens of millions of other highly talented and hard working infants are born into countries with little economic opportunity and questionable rule-of-law if not outright warfare.

    Situations like this make me question the fairness of the US immigration system.

    1. You want infants background-checked?

    2. Dinepo, Dan is referring to the 4 million infants born in the U.S.

  4. Australia uses a scoring system that assigns points to factors. You have to meet a minimum point requirement to get Aussie permanent residency. Education, experience all count. Certain professions are given more points than others.

    I wish we would use something like that.

  5. Actually, the Diversity Visa lottery is for immediate CONSIDERATION of a Visa application, and doesn't have any requirements for existing ties to any people or companies already in the United States.


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