Thousands of US 'Diversity Visa' lottery applicants saw their shot at migrating to the United States dashed after officials discovered its system produced biased results.
The Diversity Visa program offers citizens from poorer nations the opportunity to apply for a US visa.
“A computing error caused more than 90 percent of the selectees to come from the first two days of the registration period,” David Donahue, a US State Department visa official explained in a video post late last week.
By law its lottery selection process must be random, he pointed out.
The US was set to randomly select 100,000 hopefuls in 2012, who would be cleared to apply for 50,000 available visas.
The flaw meant that anyone who had been selected based on an application between October 5 and November 3 2010 were no longer in the final cut.
Around 22,000 would-be immigrants had been told that they were no longer free to apply based on that selection, according to an AFP report.
Officials said the error was caused by a new in-house developed computer program.
A new lottery based on the same entrants would be announced on July 15, Donahue said.