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Press release: Warning to prospective Irish emigrants on “Green card” scams

The CIIC and the Crosscare Migrant Project have issued this joint press release on the issue of green card scams. There is only one way to apply for the diversity visa lottery, which grants 50,000 visas to the US: through the State Department website. This is at www.dvlottery.state.gov. There is no fee to apply.
Warning to prospective Irish emigrants on ‘Green card’ scams
For more information contact:
  • Sheila Gleeson, Director, Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres, Boston, USA. T: 001 617 987 0193
  • Joe O’Brien, Policy Officer, Crosscare Migrant Project, 1 Cathedral St., Dublin 1. T: 00 353 87 9608540
At noon EST on October 5, 2010 the US Diversity Visa (‘green card’) lottery will open for applications. This year with more applications expected from Ireland due to the entrenched unemployment problem organizations in Ireland and the US are warning prospective applicants about lottery scams. The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres (CIIC) in the US and Crosscare Migrant Project (CMP) in Dublin are urging people to be extra vigilant about companies and websites that charge a fee for processing the application and especially those that guarantee results.
Joe O’Brien of Crosscare Migrant Project explained that ‘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’. Mr. O’Brien stated that there have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government sites or misrepresenting their services by saying that they are affiliated with the U.S. government. These companies charge fees in order to complete lottery entry forms.
Sheila Gleeson the Director of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres stated that ‘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 loose their opportunity to submit an entry. Many other websites provide legitimate and accurate information but the CIIC and CMP recommend that applicants should only submit their personal information on the official DV Lottery website’. Ms. Gleeson said that ‘Irish Centers in the USA are seeing increasing numbers of new immigrants arriving in all the major cities and we urge anyone thinking of coming to the US to avail of legal avenues that will allow them to live and work legally here’. This follows a recent statement by Minister Micheal Martin on his visit to the USA urging prospective Irish emigrants to ‘not come to America without your papers in order. We must at all costs avoid a new generation of illegals’.
Recently released figures by the CSO show a two fold increase in emigration of Irish people compared to 2008 with 27,700 Irish people estimated to have left in the year to April 2010.
Both CMP and CIIC members will provide accurate information and assistance about how to submit an application to the US DV Lottery along with other legal options to emigrate to the US.
Editors notes:
Founded in 1996, the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers (CIIC) is a national umbrella organization of Irish Immigrant advice centers throughout the United States.  Its membership includes 15 active immigrant and pastoral centers in the US with groups in California, Philadelphia, Washington, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. Member Centers provide direct services to immigrants in the US including immigration and visa advice and information. A list of Irish Centers may be found at here
Crosscare Migrant Project (CMP) is a project of Crosscare the social care agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin. Since the 1950s CMP has provided assistance to prospective Irish emigrants. It has an information and advocacy service based in Dublin city centre and provides a range of information on emigrating on its website
The DV Lottery program gives winning entrants an opportunity to apply for a permanent visa to live and work in the US. The program makes 50,000 visas available annually to applicants who meet eligibility requirements.  The application period starts at 5pm Irish time on 5 October 2010 and closes at 5pm Irish time on 3 November 2010. In the 2008 and 2009 there were 167 and 201 successful Irish applications respectively.