Diversity Visa and Brain Drain

The United States Immigration Act of 1990 established the Diversity Visa (DV) program, according to which 55,000 immigrant visas would be chosen for an annual lottery, commencing in fiscal year 1995. The annual Diversity Visa lottery is aimed at diversifying the immigrant population in the United States of America, by short listing applicants typically from countries that have demonstrated low rates of immigration in the United States during the five years preceding the lottery.

This congressionally mandated program, also known as the Green Card Lottery, entitles the Nepalese community living in the United States to receive a United States Permanent Resident Card and enjoy the same rights and opportunities as any other local American. However, the reality is not as simple for the Nepalese society as it sounds.

As the population of Nepalese immigrants in the USA continues to grow every day, it comes without surprise that a considerable number of Tibetan immigrants own the Diversity Visa. That being said, what does come as a surprise is that despite their 'Permanent Resident' status, most of the members of the Nepalese society experience an overbearing struggle in the USA.

USA may be known as the 'Land of Opportunity', but my personal experiences and encounter makes me realize it is certainly not one with 'equal' opportunities for its minorities. Although the minimum education requirements to qualify for the Diversity Visa program, call for a high school Diploma from Nepal, there is a considerable number of highly educated Nepalese immigrants that reside in the US on the Diversity Visa and despite their esteemed qualifications, go through a similar struggle as their degreeless counterparts to make ends meet.

Getting hands on a Diversity visa has become an easy way to enter the Land of Opportunity, but the fact that there is no gain without pain in the USA is lesser known. A Nepalese immigrant's struggle begins as soon as he steps on to the American soil. From finding a reasonable accommodation that fits their budget, to getting employed, and getting their kids enrolled into a good school to settling into the diverse environment, the beginning stage of this journey proves to be the hardest.

Even though, the migration and settlement struggle is more or less the same for everyone new to the American life, it is the personal caliber and attitude of a person that determines if their reactions will make or break their American Dream. I have personally met a lot of immigrants who came to the USA through a Diversity Visa, and were able to make it big. While some own thriving businesses, others have been highly successful in their academic careers. Their children got educated at reputable institutions and paved their ways to become flourishing doctors, lawyers, engineers and even influential journalists.

Considering the rapid growth in Nepalese immigrant population, especially in the New York City, California, Maryland, and Texas, the only life-changing element that the Tibetan society should incorporate is to aim for high-quality education, preferably undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications, because the American Dream deems education paramount in creating a skilled manpower.

My own social circle is also comprised of a number of friends who entered the US through a Diversity Visa, and love to share their stories with me. While many feel that the American lifestyle provides them with better living standards than the Nepalese lifestyle, others feel overburdened by the complications of their life in America. The root cause of these differing opinions melts down to their educational backgrounds. The highly educated Nepalese enjoy their rewarding careers and positions in government offices, while in contrast, there are many others who struggle to start a new chapter.

The constant pressure of making it big in the Land of Opportunity makes many immigrants depressed and hopeless at the beginning. They find it hard to adapt to hard labor jobs at gas stations, restaurants, Seven-eleven stores and tend to easily give in to their struggle. I have even seen some Nepalese immigrants; especially those above 50, head back to Nepal owing to their inability to endure the hard work and struggle required to survive in America.

With time I have come to realize that even though a Diversity Visa opens multiple avenues for aspiring Nepalese a dearth of opportunities in their homeland, the increased immigration to the US contributes to the 'brain drain' and deprives the nation of its skilled manpower. Diversity visa is a kind of great opportunity for those people who want to do something in their in the USA. Lots of possibilities are here.

In my opinion, your nationality is your identity, and therefore Nepalese around the world should stay loyal and patriotic to their motherland wherever they are. They need to do something for their country to help it progress through the journey of stability and prosperity.