Bishnu P Gautam
The annual business of a handful clever men and women has finally been over with the application period for the 2025 Diversity Visa (DV) programme ended on Tuesday. From the first week of October, a notice reading 'EDV is filled up here' had been seen pasted in the walls of many shops and stores in almost all alleys and streets, with New Road having the largest number of shops offering the seasonal service.
Many of the shop owners might have managed to earn enough to mark Tihar festival from offering the EDV filling up services although one does not have to pay any fee for it. But now the seasonal business has ended.
The exact number of Nepalis who applied for the DV programme in the hope of emigrating to Uncle Sam's land is unclear, but the number must be in millions.
Most of the college students, university teachers, police officers, government employees and even journalists tend to apply every year.
In 2016, when Lal Babu Pundit of the CPN-UML was General Administration Minister, he introduced a provision preventing the government employees and others drawing salaries from the government coffers from applying for the DV programme. But it didn’t go far enough.
When you apply online, no one in Nepal knows whether you applied or not. And if you are lucky enough, you tender resignation once you win the lottery.
The EDV has been the most eligible means for Nepalis to reach the USA and to stay there permanently.
Many Nepalis, including high-ranking officials, have been leaving the country permanently after winning the lottery.
Obviously, Nepalis have an unusual craze for America. Many have a single goal in their life — to reach its shore by hook or crook. They resort to both legal and illegal means to reach the USA. Many of them who pay a huge sum of money to human traffickers end up in the forest of Panama or in treacherous water before reaching their dreamland.
Most of the high school and college students, many aspiring journalists, students studying IT and computer science and nursing in Nepal have only one goal: to reach America or Australia and live there permanently. And they do not miss to apply for DV every year.
Parents also want their wards to fly to America, Europe, Australia and Canada. Even those who have served in the high posts of civil service for a long time encourage their sons and daughters to emigrate to the USA or Australia. Many students who reached these countries for higher education hardly return to Nepal after completing their course.
Worse is when many doctors who obtained their MBBS degrees with government scholarship in Nepal also migrate to the USA, turning the investment made on them into a waste. Today, many girls are studying nursing only with an intention of flying to Australia, the UK or the US and serve their citizens.
It means Nepal is investing in education to produce manpower for the developed countries when many hospitals in Nepal are without doctors and health workers.
This tendency bodes ill for the country.