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News Published: 15 June 2023

Exploring the potential of digital innovation in asylum and migration management

 digital innovation

The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) hosted a "Joint Conference on Digital Innovation" this week. Featuring presentations from key EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies such as eu-LISA, Eurojust, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and Frontex, participants discussed how digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, if used responsibly, can support asylum, migration management and judicial processes. Representatives from Australia, Canada and the United States of America, countries that face similar migration management challenges, were present as well.

The Joint Conference on Digital Innovation, co-organised by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), the General Directors of Immigration Services’ Conference (GDISC) and the Inter-Governmental Consultations on migration, asylum and refugees (IGC), enabled participants to discuss digital innovation in the fields of asylum and migration.

In her opening remarks Ylva JOHANSSON, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, noted how a human-centred approach to the use of Artificial Intelligence tools, such as Large Language Models (LLMs), could assist caseworkers with identification and language recognition processes in the asylum procedure. With around 700 projects having benefited from over 3 billion euros of security research funds since 2007, Commissioner Johansson invited participants to look five years into the future and discuss the ideas and tools needed to carry out their asylum, border management, law enforcement and judicial cooperation tasks more effectively.

Joint Conference on Digital Innovation

In her own opening remarks, the EUAA’s Executive Director Nina GREGORI observed how the COVID-19 pandemic compelled national authorities to turn to digital solutions for asylum purposes, such as online self-registration and carrying out interviews remotely, in order to keep protection processes active. She also observed that Digital Innovation can support both national officials in taking quicker and better-informed decisions, as well as asylum seekers in benefitting from quicker access to information.

The opening remarks were followed by a high-level panel, including a representative of the US Department of Homeland Security, on “Shaping the future of asylum procedures through digitalisation”. The EU Fundamental Rights Agency stressed the importance of fundamental rights horizontally, and in all aspects of migration management.

In a subsequent set of five thematic discussions supported by inter alia the EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies, attendees looked into issues of interconnectivity of information systems at the national and international levels, as well the impact that these have on the digitalisation of identification processes. Representatives from eu-LISA and Eurojust discussed how e-CODEX, which provides easy access to cross-border justice for citizens, businesses, and legal professionals all over Europe, could serve as a blueprint for future applications in other domains. Representatives from the European Border and Coastguard Agency: Frontex, provided updates on the implementation of the EUROSUR 2.0 roadmap and the importance of end-to-end secure mobile communication.

Representatives from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and the United States of America contributed to all facets of the discussions.