About 1.7 million Ghanaians participated in the United States visa lottery programme in 2015 in a bid to seek refuge there.
This is the highest for a single country, representing 12% of the total 14 million people who applied within that year. The figure also translates to 7% of the Ghanaian population.
“In fiscal 2015 (the most recent year for detailed data on application countries), about 12% of the 14.4 million people who applied for the visa lottery were citizens of Ghana (1.7 million),” the Pew Research report noted.
“An additional 10%, or nearly 1.4 million applicants, were from Uzbekistan. Other top application countries included Ukraine (nearly 1.3 million applicants), Iran (more than 900,000) and Nepal (nearly 900,000). Numbers include principal applicants, their spouses and their children,” it added.
Currently, the U.S. visa program is facing elimination under several bills being considered by Congress.
In operation since 1995, the visa lottery seeks to diversify the U.S. immigrant population by granting visas to underrepresented nations.
In 2016, a total of 19 million people applied for the visa programme with 50,000 of them receiving admission. Citizens of countries with the most legal immigrant arrivals in recent years – such as Mexico, Canada, China and India – are not eligible to apply.