Saturday, May 14, 2011

U.S. tosses immigrant visas lottery results after computer glitch

The State Department apologized for a computer glitch that invalidated results for thousands who thought they were chosen in the most recent green card visa lottery.

Millions of people worldwide apply for the 50,000 permanent resident visas issued a year to relocate to the U.S.

A computer randomly picks would-be immigrants who then undergo interviews, background checks and medical exams before visas can be issued.

"Due to a computer programming problem, the results of the 2012 diversity lottery that were previously posted on this website have been voided," the State Department said in a statement Friday. "We regret any inconvenience this might have caused."

The results of lottery were not valid, and the drawing will be redone.

"They did not represent a fair random selection of the entrants, which is required by U.S. law," said David Donahue, a deputy assistant for the State Department.

US Apologizes for Visa Lottery Error..

The State Department is apologizing for a computer error that led thousands of people to believe they had been selected as finalists in a U.S. immigrant visa lottery. The selection process, involving nearly 15 million visa applicants, will be re-run.

The State Department is making a rare public apology for an embarrassing computer error that has prompted it to re-do its 2012 diversity immigrant visa lottery.

The diversity visa lottery was established by the Congress in 1994 to increase the number of immigrants coming to the country from developing states and other countries with traditionally low rates of immigration to the United States.

Nearly 15 million people, representing about 20 million with family members included, registered late last year for the 2012 computerized lottery under which 50,000 visa winners were to be selected.

State Department officials say the error caused 90 percent of the people selected as visa finalists to have been drawn from applications received on the first two days of the month-long entry process that began last October.

When the error was discovered in recent days, officials decided that the selection was neither random nor fair and would have to be done again.

But they estimate that in the meantime more than 20,000 applicants had been informed erroneously that they had been chosen to move ahead in the process.

In a message posted Friday on the State Department's visa website, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Donahue explained and apologized.