Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last year Fatma became one of the lucky few selected out of millions who apply for the diversity visa lottery — a program intended to bring in immigrants from underrepresented countries.

What's happening: Now, the 29-year-old Albanian with a master's degree, and experience in hospital administration, is one of thousands fighting a pandemic and the Trump administration for her chance to move her family to the U.S.

  • Fatma had applied for a shot at a green card through the diversity visa lottery for over a decade before being selected.
  • Coronavirus canceled her visa interview scheduled for May of this year. Then Trump's immigration bans threatened to keep her from receiving the visa at all.

"If you think of winning the lottery and then the next day somebody tells you that no, you can't go to collect," that is what it was like, her attorney told Axios.

What to watch: Last week a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to resume issuing diversity visas before the Sept. 30 deadline.

  • Fatma's attorney said she has an interview next week. But even if she gets the visa, as long as Trump's proclamation is in effect, the State Department won't let her in.

Go deeper

Big Tech's fight for high-skilled visa holders

Data: National Foundation for American Policy and USCIS; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The technology industry has long advocated for access and expansion of H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers and has been vocal about its disdain for President Trump's moves to curb them.

The big picture: Denial rates for H-1B visas for tech companies have gone up significantly during Trump's first term, according to government data compiled by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

Trump admin planning new restriction for foreign students

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration plans to propose a rule in the coming weeks to make international students request visa extensions after two or four years of study, administration officials tell Axios.

Between the lines: Right now, foreign students can stay indefinitely as long as they meet requirements proving they are students. The proposal would essentially set up mandatory check-ins with the Department of Homeland Security in an attempt to prevent overstays.

The plunge in highly skilled work visas

Data: U.S. State Department via Migration Policy Institute: Note: Including E1, E2, H-1B, H-4, L-1, L-2, O-1, O-2, O-3, TN and TD visas; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus has slammed the door on highly skilled foreign workers — amping up President Trump's push to limit American-based companies' hiring of foreigners.

Why it matters: The restrictions and bottlenecks may outlast the pandemic, especially if Trump wins reelection. Economists warn that could slow the U.S. recovery and reduce competitiveness.

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