By JESSICA AKUDE and Zainab ALIYU
The United States Consul-General, Jeffery Hawkins, yesterday in Lagos gave reasons Nigeria and other countries were excluded from participating in the 2015 Diversity Visa Programme (DV-2015) of the United States of America.
According to him, Nigeria, Canada, China, Mexico, Britain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, South Korea, India, among others, have graduated from being under-represented to being a fully represented group in the US Diversity Visa Lottery Programme.
The U.S. Diversity Visa is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State to the countries with low rate of immigration to the United States and other forms of legal immigration to the U.S. such as family unification or business would continue.
Hawkins denied a claim that Nigeria’s exclusion was due to security threats, but said the U.S. has achieved its objective of promoting immigration from Nigeria.
The Consul-General stated that the 2015 Diversity Visa Programme opens on October 1 and ends on November 2, 2013.
“The Department of State will implement the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 so as to make the visa process more efficient and secure”, he said.
According to him, the department will also implement an online process to notify entrants of their selection, and provide information about the immigrant visa applications and interviews. It will also utilize special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.
The annual DV programme makes visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated random drawing chooses selectees for the entry certificate.
The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to zones that have lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years. No single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available Diversity Visas in a year.