“Asylum is a fundamental right; granting it is an international obligation” – European Commission


Posted on: September 18, 2018 by Bernd Mainzer

In recent times we have seen the large-scale movement of people across the globe. Wars, economics, natural and personal disasters see people fleeing their countries and seeking refuge elsewhere on an unprecedented scale.

This is an extremely sensitive topic which polarises opinion but it is also logistically and administratively extremely complex for the governments of host countries. Managing Asylum applications is politically fraught with forensic attention being paid by the media, politicians and the public.

One of the primary, and most complex, administrative tasks is identity verification. Many of those fleeing violence or disaster arrive on distant shores without ID and with no way to prove where they have come from and why they are seeking Asylum.

Technology can provide a quick initial verification to speed up the validation process and help refugees demonstrate their identity in a few steps. A combination of biometrics, forensic and personal data can be used in a multi-factored verification process that considers many indicators that can be triangulated. Alongside the usual fingerprint and eDocument reader these can include:

  • Voice and dialect recognition – can confirm the country and region of origin
  • Face recognition – this can ensure only one entry request per person is being processed
  • Mobile device data extraction – mobiles can be scanned to understand the location of origin and where calls and messages have been made and received from.

The system can then store and register all this information together. Allowing for the sharing of identity information from numerous sources and giving access to those who need it. From this point security checks can begin and the printing and issuing of documents can be initiated.

In Germany where there were 186,644 Asylum seekers in 2017 we have worked with BAMF, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, to deliver these services. One of the main points was to build a user friendly, secure system that was also very human for those going through the asylum process.

After several Proof of Concept’s, BAMF decided to enlist our help to create the new Identity Management System (IDM-S) for immigrants. Since September 2017, this system has been at the heart of the hearing process for immigrants. Before its introduction these hearings were taking days, waiting for translators and checking much of the information received manually. Now it takes 2-3 hours, and enables a much more human, efficient and less invasive approach.

The debate around Asylum will always be held but it is a vital part of what makes countries civilized. Getting it right for those who have lost their homes and for a country’s own citizens is vital. There are the tools out there to help to manage this.

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About Bernd Mainzer

Director Global Business Development for Government ID Solutions
Mr. Bernd Mainzer, is Director Global Business Development for Government ID Solutions of the Atos Information Technology GmbH. Holding this position he is responsible for large international government projects such as Passport, national ID, eGates, Border Control and Asylum. Prior he worked for DISO AG as a Vice President Global Sales, for Lasercard Europe as a Director of Sales in the Government ID business, for Hologram Industries in Paris as Sales & Marketing Director and for Bundesdruckerei International Services in Berlin and Arjo Wiggins as Sales Director. During his career he was involved in various large projects like passport, national ID, driver license, permanent residence card and voter’s card in Europe, Africa and China.

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