It’s Schumer Visa application time again, a chance for Irish immigrants to throw their hat in the ring for one of the 55,000 permanent-resident visas that will be awarded to lucky applicants who meet the required criteria.
And lucky the applicants certainly have to be; they are initially chosen through a random computer-generated lottery drawing.
Despite this, applicants themselves can enhance their chances. They should take the time to carefully read and follow the instructions, details of which are published on Page 5 of this issue.
Entries must be received between noon Monday, Oct. 4, and noon Wednesday, Nov. 3. Entries received before or after these dates will be disqualified regardless of when they are postmarked. Also, entries sent to an incorrect address will be disqualified. Submission of more than one entry will also disqualify a candidate.
As is always the case where the supply cannot possibly meet the demand, there is an opportunity for business. When it comes to obtaining U.S. visas, there is now an array of lawyers and quasi legal types offering their services to immigrants desperate to change their status. While some applicants may feel more comfortable having obtained the advice and direction of a competent lawyer, it must be said that retaining a lawyer is not always necessary. And no one — not even a lawyer — can guarantee any applicant a visa.
Those selected will be notified by mail during April to July 2000 and will be provided further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S. Persons not selected will not be notified.
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For those who have questions about the new program, there are many sources of information. In New York, there is the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, the Aisling Irish Center and Project Irish Outreach, a division of the Catholic archdiocese of New York. There are also Irish immigrant agencies in Boston, Philadelphia and other U.S. cities.
Despite the booming, blooming Celtic Tiger economy, young people are still emigrating from Ireland. How disappointing, then, for those working to help Irish immigrants change their status that the response to some previous visa programs has not been what it should. Sadder still is the fact that some immigrants have applied time and again only to be unlucky enough to see their applications rejected every time.
While not all applicants will be successful, one adage still pertains: if you’re not in, you can’t win.