In many parts of the world, migrant flows are significantly increasing and have, in part, been caused by instability in the Middle East. Governments, especially Turkey and Europe, are now confronted with thousands of refugees crossing borders looking for safety and asylum. By now it’s evident their governments do not have the IT and supporting infrastructure in place to handle the current refugee crisis.
Technology and biometrics solutions can be strategically used to help address this growing issue. However, as governments are looking for ways to simplify and speed up the biometric enrollment at border crossings, biometric enrollment is only one part of the solution. A broader and secure approach is needed as this issue expands in scale and severity across Europe and other countries. The approach should include:
The technology industry is driving discussions to identify the best technologies to control the flow of people between borders. Ideas put forward have included implementing a smart card system or encouraging refugees to download tracking apps in return for information about sea crossings and other weather conditions to ensure their safe passage.
The current system for fingerprinting of asylum seekers once they have arrived in Europe was not designed for the large numbers of refugees and does not capture detailed data about their backgrounds. A broader solution is needed to link up different databases and identify whether a refugee has any links with terrorism or other crimes. Adopting a system which is holistic and comprehensive in tracking refugees across borders mitigates the risk associated with providing asylum to people from other countries.
Further, using predictive models refugee flows can be inside and outside the EU can be forecast based on historical data – meaning governments and the EU can prepare for the most likely scenario. By using predictive models, the EU can better foresee and determine how to scale its systems and processes to support refugee flow management.
Per a recent BBC report, the total number of asylum claims in 2015 was 1,294,000 (which include non EU countries Norway and Switzerland). Germany and Hungary received a majority of those claims. While those are official numbers, the actual number could be much higher due to illegal entries – many of the countries in Europe are unable to cope with. The refugee issue is increasing in scale and requires a broader, integrated solution going forward.
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