Half of the 50,000 residence permits handed out at random each year are earmarked for Africans. It is a hugely popular programme that has allowed hundreds of thousands of Africans to settle in America since the mid 1990s.
More than 18,000 Africans – more than from any other continent – got Green Cards through the lottery in 2012. Half of the lottery is reserved for applicants from the continent, which could now lose out.
Countries that sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years are excluded from the lottery. This year, a range of countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, mainland-born China, Mexico, Pakistan, South Korea, and Britain (except Northern Ireland), will be affected.