The application period of the US Visa lottery has just ended, and the US State Department says only 8 million people applied. This is in comparison to last year’s figure of 15 million. The Department is saying it is because it removed Bangladesh from the list, but that is not totally true. One of my relatives applied for the diversity visa lottery last year and got an email around March telling them they got through. A few weeks later, another email came, saying it was a computer failure and they’re sorry, the person did not make it. Can you imagine? Anyone who knows how most Nigerians regard the visa lottery as a ticket to heaven will understand what a let down that is.
Anyway, I’m not surprised at the decrease in those applying for the Visa lottery. Apart from the disappointment with the system failure, there is the situation of the economy in the United States. The past few years have been terrible, and it was all over the news how unemployment rates had shot up and how people were losing their homes. Knowing how we’re everywhere, I’m sure many Nigerians in America must have been personally affected, and some would have advised their people back home not to bother applying. I even know of several people who actually returned to Nigeria at the height of the crisis. That will certainly not encourage anyone to want to come over.
Another likelihood is that as third world countries stabilize and begin to maximise their own economies, there will be less poor to rich country migration. One can’t also rule out the power of the internet. Where once people in such third world countries depended on a few filtered media channels for stale news, nowadays, news is disseminated instantly on blogs, online websites, etc. As people home and abroad, share photos and notes on Facebook and Twitter, the more the mirrored glass walls are broken down and people realize the US is not heaven.