15 million people apply for US green-card lottery

NEW YORK: A record 15 million people around the world this year entered America’s green-card lottery, an immigration scheme offering a quick path to legal and permanent US residency for 50,000 people annually, a media report said today.

The so-called "diversity visa programme" lottery drew nearly 25% more entries than last year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the State Department.

The limit of 50,000 people — who are selected purely by the luck of the draw — was established years ago by Congress and now some lawmakers are now calling for an end to the programme, it said.

"Applicants from Kenya to Khazakstan brave lines at Internet kiosks to fill out electronic entries. In the final hours of the month-long enrolment period, which this year closed on November 3, entries were rolling in at the rate of 62,000 an hour," the newspaper said.

Launched in 1990 to promote diversity in the immigrant population, the green-card lottery is now open to people from almost anywhere in the world, except countries that already boast a large number of nationals in the US, including Mexico, China, India and the Philippines.

No special skills are required as a high-school diploma suffices and the lottery winners eventually qualify for US citizenship, the report noted.(PTI)

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