U.S. makes mistake on visa lottery, must redraw

WASHINGTON Fri May 13, 2011 10:59am EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 22,000 people were erroneously told they were eligible for a special U.S. visa program because of a computer error in an annual lottery and the drawing must be redone, a U.S. official said on Friday.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States regretted any inconvenience or disappointment caused by the mistake and that the results of the new drawing were expected to be available around July 15.

Under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, the U.S. government makes available some 50,000 visas each year drawn from a random selection to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The official said that because of a computer programing error, 90 percent of the winners were selected from the first two days of applications rather than from the entire batch of applications over the 30-day registration period.

Some 19.6 million people had applied for the visas, which give them the opportunity to immigrate without having a family member or an employer sponsor them -- the typical route to a U.S. "green card" denoting permanent residency.

The U.S. government developed the malfunctioning computer program, the official said. It has been fixed and no one will be disciplined for the error, said a second official.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (4)
gloriainnyc wrote:
I don’t understand why they have a visa lottery now when there are not enough jobs for Americans and other immigrants already here. The winners will need aid not monetary but are all fluent in English? They will need many services that the US can not give to persons here. Do they have the funds to pay if they get sick.

May 13, 2011 6:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
frankkarlburn wrote:
gloriainnyc — To answer your question, a great many native born Americans lack the initiative and intelligence to provide the country with sufficient human resources. Sorry to have to present it in that light, but that’s how it is. So many Americans are unemployable, or only willing/able to hold down the simplest jobs for the laziest people. The foreigners who are arriving pump the economy with hardworking initiative, giving the boost it needs.

May 14, 2011 6:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dalkymz wrote:
So how will they get into contact with those who sent their application. Is it via email or will they send the forms to individuals?

May 15, 2011 6:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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