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Green Card lottery begins

The Irish Times has picked up on the joint press release issued by the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres and the Crosscare Migrant Project: this story appeared in the newspaper and on the website yesterday.

Anyone with questions about applying for the diversity visa should contact the CIIC, the Crosscare Migrant Project, or your local Irish centre.

US to open ‘green card’ lottery today

JAMIE SMYTH Social Affairs Correspondent

Tue, Oct 05, 2010

THE US will open its annual “green card” lottery today giving people around the world the chance to apply for one of the 50,000 working visas on offer.

Thousands of applications are expected to be made by Irish citizens due to the tough economic climate, according to NGOs, who are warning about fraudulent websites targeting visa applicants.

“People need to be extra vigilant about companies and websites charging a fee for processing applications,” said Joe O’Brien of Crosscare Migrant Project.

He said NGOs had been contacted by many Irish people who have been defrauded by websites posing as official government websites or misrepresenting their services by saying they were affiliated to the US government.

“All applications go through the one official route which is a US department of state website at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Applications can only be made online via this site and there is no charge to submit an application,” he said.

In a joint appeal to the public, Crosscare and the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres, which is based in the US, said people should only send in their applications via the official site.

“Not only are immigrants unnecessarily giving their money and their personal information to private companies, but often no application is actually filed for them and they lose their opportunity to submit an entry,” said Sheila Gleeson, director of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres.

She said the centres were seeing an increasing number of Irish immigrants arriving in all major cities and urged anyone thinking of going to the US to avail of legal means to allow them to stay.

The annual lottery attracts more than 12 million applicants from around the world. Some 201 Irish applicants were chosen last year from the Diversity Visa Lottery, and 167 in 2008.

The lottery gives winning entrants an opportunity to apply for a permanent visa to live and work in the US. It is free to enter and all applications must be made online at www.dvlottery.state.gov.

© 2010 The Irish Times

See the report on the Irish Times website.