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IOM suggests stronger cooperation, identity proofing to address migration in Europe

IOM suggests stronger cooperation, identity proofing to address migration in Europe

With the rise of digital public infrastructure (DPI) and digital ID infrastructure, the European Union sees an opportunity for a comprehensive migration policy to provide consistent migrant management, according to an IOM report on access to digital identity for migrants in Europe.

The migrant population made up 3.6 percent of the global population in 2020, according to the report. Almost 13 percent of the EU’s population for the same year were international migrants. Data from 2018 shows that one billion people in the world did not have a basic proof of legal identity, which is often essential for basic services and for vetting.

Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights declares legal identity as a basic human right. The United Nations Development Programme has committed to the goal of legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030 through the Sustainable Development Goal Target 16.9.

But cooperation between countries both within and outside the EU can pose technical, legal, and political complications. Although there are common standards, there is no singular unique residence permit for migrants across the EU. Over a hundred different documents are issued to migrants within the European Union. Member states are also at different levels of preparedness when it comes to issuing and authenticating digital IDs.

The IOM reviews the positions of various stakeholders, different methods used to identify migrants in the EU and examines opportunities and limitations. It concludes with 13 recommendations.

The report recommends that international organizations improve registration and identity proofing processes, improving cooperation with countries of origin, and guaranteeing birth registration for children of migrants born within or while traveling towards EU territories. It also proposes guaranteeing digital ID access to improve access to online migrant services as well as expanding credential access for migrants to allow for the registration of the EUDI wallet.

The EU Asylum Agency recently presented DynENet, a machine-learning forecasting system that compares migration data to potential conflicts and internet searches into countries of origin. A survey from the European Migration Network revealed that 12 out of 22 member states use open-source migration data in forecast methods, according to GMF.

The EU has tested biometrics and digital ID verification-based programs for migration vetting in years past with pushback from critics. Between 2013 and 2019, the EU tested emotion recognition tools in the iBorderCtrl project, which combined biometric verification, deception detection, ID authentication, and risk assessment to verify the truthfulness of a migrant’s claims.

It was suspended after the trial period due to activists who were concerned that the project had the potential to be discriminatory and was based on faulty scientific assumptions.

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