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Problems with the Green Card Lottery

Problems with the Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery, officially known as the Diversity Visa Program, is a popular program that provides an opportunity for individuals from countries with typically low immigration rates to apply for a permanent residency in the United States. The program is designed to promote diversity among immigrants, and to increase the country’s pool of talented workers. However, despite its good intentions, the program has been plagued by many problems. In this article, we will examine some of the most serious issues with the Green Card Lottery, as well as some possible solutions.

Overview of the Green Card Lottery

The Diversity Visa Program was first introduced in 1986, as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The program’s main goal is to provide a pathway to permanent residency for individuals from countries that send few immigrants to the United States. To be eligible for the lottery, applicants must be from a qualifying country and meet certain educational and work experience requirements. Typically, the lottery is open for a period of one month each year, and applicants must apply online.

The lottery is extremely popular, with millions of people applying each year. In fact, in 2018, the State Department received over 22 million applications for the 50,000 available visas. However, the odds of winning the lottery are very low, with less than 1% of applicants receiving a visa.

Problems with the Green Card Lottery

The Green Card Lottery has faced a number of issues over the years, ranging from technical difficulties to concerns about the fairness of the program. Below, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most pressing issues.

Technical Difficulties

One of the primary issues with the Green Card Lottery has been the technical difficulties that have plagued the program. In recent years, there have been a number of problems with the government’s online application system, which is the only way to apply for the lottery. For example, in 2019, the State Department had to cancel the lottery results and issue new ones after a technical glitch caused the original results to be invalid. In addition, there have been reports of websites claiming to offer Green Card Lottery application services for a fee, which has led to confusion and frustration among applicants.

Lack of Transparency

Another major issue with the Green Card Lottery is the lack of transparency in the ion process. While the lottery is supposed to be random, there have been allegations of fraud and manipulation in the ion process. Some have claimed that the lottery is rigged in favor of certain countries, while others have pointed to instances of bribery and corruption. Additionally, the ion process is not open to public scrutiny, which has raised concerns about the fairness of the program.

Not Enough Visas

Another problem with the Green Card Lottery is that there are simply not enough visas available. While the program provides an opportunity for thousands of individuals each year, the demand for visas far outweighs the supply. This has led to extremely long wait times for those who do receive a visa, and has also created a backlog of applications that can take years to process.

Impact on the Labor Market

One of the main justifications for the Green Card Lottery is that it helps to fill labor shortages in certain industries in the United States. However, critics of the program argue that it actually harms the labor market, by allowing employers to hire foreign workers instead of American citizens. Additionally, they argue that the lottery system does not take into account the needs of specific industries, and that it is often difficult for employers to find qualified workers through the program.

Possible Solutions

Given the many problems with the Green Card Lottery, it is clear that the program is in need of significant reform. Here are some possible solutions:

Increase the Number of Visas: One potential solution to the problem of long wait times and high demand would be to increase the number of visas available through the program. This would allow more individuals to immigrate to the United States, and would help to clear the backlog of applications that currently exists.

Improve Transparency: To address concerns about the fairness of the program, the government could take steps to increase transparency in the ion process. For example, they could create an independent oversight board to monitor the lottery, or could provide additional information about the ion criteria used.

Restructure the Program: Rather than using a lottery system, some have proposed restructuring the program to focus on specific industries or areas of the country that are in need of workers. This would allow employers to find qualified workers more easily, and would ensure that the program is providing a real benefit to the U.S. economy.


The Green Card Lottery is a well-intentioned program that aims to promote diversity and increase the pool of talented workers in the United States. However, the program has been plagued by a number of serious problems, including technical difficulties, lack of transparency, and not enough visas. To address these issues, the government should consider increasing the number of visas available, improving transparency in the ion process, and restructuring the program to better serve the needs of the U.S. economy. By doing so, we can ensure that the Green Card Lottery remains an effective and fair way to promote diversity and economic growth.

The green card lottery is a rather strange manner of deciding who is fit to receive a United States Permanent Resident card.

The green card lottery application, in its latest incarnation, cannot be filed using pen and paper. It must be filed electronically. Whether or not the applicant can access the form online is their issue, but as far as the application process goes, everything can be done by the user on a computer.

As opposed to normal green card requirements for application, which can involve lengthy dialogue with the Department of State and Citizenship and Immigration Services, if followed correctly and completed accurately, the green card lottery application will not need the aid of a legal representative. As stated, though, there are problems with the application that exist beyond advantages taken against foreigners.

These are not so much protests of abuse than so much as perceived inequities of the system. The path to permanent residency through a green card can be an arduous one considering the scenarios in which aliens have had to apply for and reapply for temporary visas over a period of years without being much closer to a green card.

As for the green card lottery, results are known before the end of the next year, and while only certain classes of labor may apply, in comparison with normal green card requirements, the minimum experience needed is often far less. For the disenfranchised, residency is not a game, and yet 50,000 each year are awarded result as a result of one.