E.g., 02/26/2024
E.g., 02/26/2024
What Role Could Digital Technologies Play in the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum?

Pressure on EU migration and asylum systems has grown considerably in recent years, with rising arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants and the level of asylum applications approaching those that threw the European Union into disarray in 2015–16. The arrival of more than 4 million displaced Ukrainians, meanwhile, has challenged already strained reception and integration systems. And across Europe, migration has become a flashpoint for political tensions and dominated electoral debates.

Many policymakers and other stakeholders have pinned their hopes on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum to help Europe address these challenges. The pact, which was announced by the European Commission in 2020 and has recently entered the final stages of negotiation, is a series of legislative proposals aimed at revamping EU migration and asylum systems. Yet even if the pact is finalized, it has to pass another test before policymakers can claim victory: translating a complex legal construct into something that works in practice and can withstand spikes in arrivals and other challenges.

This policy brief explores how digital technologies—already increasingly being used in European migration and asylum systems—could be leveraged to support the implementation of the pact and where caution is merited. It examines the role new digital tools could play in three key areas: decision-making at the border, relocation of asylum seekers/refugees among Member States, and return and reintegration. It also discusses the broader implications of digitalization in migration and asylum systems and reflects on how policymakers can set appropriate governance models and safeguards to ensure responsible use of new technologies.

Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  The Promise and Perils of Using Digital Technologies to Support the Pact’s Implementation
A. Matching Algorithms, Digital Identity Wallets, and Exchange Platforms to Smooth the Relocation Process
B. Online Case Management Systems to Improve the Uptake of Return and Quality of Reintegration Assistance
C. Screening and Language Assessment Tools to Improve and Scale up Decision-Making at the Border

3  Towards a Responsible Digitalization of EU Migration and Asylum Systems