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Aussie start-ups on alert for 2014 green card lottery

Monday, 24 September 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

A US-based Australian entrepreneur is encouraging local start-ups to apply for the United States’ Diversity Visa Program for 2014, also known as the green card lottery.


Patrick Collins, president of San Francisco-based company 5th Finger, says Australian start-ups should consider applying for the program. Online registration will begin in two weeks.


“Even if you’re not sure you want to move to the US for your start-up, you might want to consider throwing in an application to the green card lottery,” Collins says.


“It can cause no harm even if you are on an existing visa. It is nice to have the choice, because… it can be difficult to get a working visa for a start-up.”


“Especially considering the STEM Visa Bill just failed in the [US] Senate.”


The STEM Visa Bill would have allowed foreign students with advanced degrees in science and engineering, from US universities, to remain in the country.


The bill needed a two-thirds vote – about 290 ayes – for approval. But at 257-158, it fell short.


The Diversity Visa Program, meanwhile, is a US congressionally mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Residency Card.


The lottery is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State. It is conducted under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which makes available 55,000 permanent resident visas annually to natives of countries deemed to have low rates of migration to the US.


Online registration for the 2014 program will begin next Tuesday and will conclude on November 3, although applicants are encouraged to register early.


“To enter the DV program, you must meet either the education or work experience requirement of the DV program,” the Department of State said in its instructions.


“You must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education.”


“Or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.”


All entries received from each region will be individually numbered. At the end of the registration period, a computer will randomly select entries from among the entries received for each geographic location.


When any entry has been selected, the entrant will be notified of his or her selection through the Entrant Status Check, available as of May 1, 2014.


The Department of State’s Kentucky Consular Center will process the case until those selected to be visa applicants are instructed to appear for visa interviews at a US embassy or consulate.