One of the advantages of the slow down in visa applications is that it has allowed me time to work on some larger special projects. One of those projects was the Fraud Summary. Apparently, I have been the acting Fraud Prevention Manager, so I got to write my first cable. Fortunately, we do this report every six months and not much has changed from last time. So, two days ago I got to see my first cable go out to the State Dept. I even had one of my A-100 friends in Guatemala notice my name on the cable.
(Speaking of Guatemala, I am not sure why I have so many readers from Guatemala. It is my second highest country. So, if you are reading this from Guatemala, please leave a comment telling me how you found this site).
The other project that I have been working on is promotion for the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. The DV Lottery - aka Greencard Lottery - allows people to apply for immigrant visas even if they don't have family members to petition for them in the United States. It's a great program that allows people to go to the United States legally. The main restriction is that people from high immigration countries (such as Mexico, Canada, China, Vietnam, Haiti, Jamaica, Guatemala, Brazil, India, etc) are not eligible.
Despite the fact that Belize is eligible and that many Belizeans want to immigrate to the US, very few Belizeans have applied for this program. I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but rumor has it that only two Belizeans applied last year - they both received visas. I discovered how poor the participation is in this program when I got here and decided that I wanted to promote the program. A month ago, they announced when the registration would be open, so I began to formulate our plans for promotion.
The first thing I did was to create this website. I've been working on this for several weeks and we launched it last week. I also put together a couple of flyers - one flyer on the DV Lottery and one with general information for non-immigrant visas. Today, we sponsored a booth at the Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Village Councils. This is an organization that brings together all the small town councils for the small villages in Belize (two favorite names of villages in Belize are "Lucky Strike" and "Double Head Cabbage"). We got a pretty decent response from people about the DV Lottery.
The biggest promotion will be next week when I go on national radio and television. One of the main local radio/TV stations (LOVE FM) broadcasts on both radio and TV. I will be on the air for a half hour promoting the DV Lottery and answering questions about visas. I'm a bit nervous about going live on TV and radio, but it should help reach a large audience. I am also drafting a press release for the local newspapers and plan to distribute some of the flyers in strategic locations around Belize and Belmopan.
For more information about the DV Lottery, see the official website.