The DV rage

The Diversity Visa (DV) programme through which a lucky few get the licence to make it to the shores of the USA has been a rage with the Nepalis for the last six years. This year too Internet kiosks are doing brisk business by helping all and sundry apply for the DV lottery. But the process is not all that simple. There are clear guidelines the US has outlined in order to be eligible for the visa. Though the first big hurdle is to win a lottery and rank in the list of those eligible for an interview, it does not necessarily guarantee a visa. And that is what the US Embassy has emphasised on Tuesday. Twelve years of education or a two years work experience in select occupations, besides necessary funds to support those going to the US are some of the criteria. Even after all these requirements are met, it is up to the consular officer to issue or deny a visa.

Like it or not, the laws are not going to change because a few people who have either been cheated by middlemen or have been denied visa find the whole process a frustrating experience even after moving mountains to meet the criteria. Some have even gone to the extent of quitting jobs or selling households to garner funds for the process before being denied a visa. So far over 4,500 Nepalis have immigrated to the US through this scheme and each year many more aspire to make it there. Pastures on the other side have always appeared greener for an average Nepali. The tales of bounty and abundance spinned by rumour mills, seldom highlight the agony that a new country with entirely different set of work ethos and culture awaits the immigrants. That is not to say some of the qualified but disoriented Nepali youths have not fared well after disembarking on the US soil. But every Tom, Dick and Harry aspires to fly to distant shores without so much of a difficulty as the rustle of the silk, most of them forgetful of the brokers who pose as providers of necessary back-up fund at incredibly high interest rates. The DV lottery has hence kick-started unhealthy side business inflicting damage on the unsuspecting commoners.

But the people’s determination to take such a risk is an indication that the government has been indifferent to the existing high rate of unemployment, rising inflation and high cost of living. At this rate of economic stagnation, people will be forced in the future to take even greater risks. Though all those who meet the DV criteria can apply, the time has come for Nepalis to think twice about mobilising one’s resources before actually getting the visa, as urged by the US Embassy. Ignorance has reportedly cost many people jobs and other assets in blind faith that winning a DV lottery is the last hurdle, which clearly is not the case.