The developed world is set to witness an influx of over 100m people between 2005 and 2050. Ageing populations and skills shortages create a demand for workers that the developing world can supply. The challenge of smoothing immigration procedures for qualified migrants while keeping the doors closed to less desirable entrants means many governments have been forced to put immigration and border protection at the top of their agendas.
To cope with these pressures, governments are bolstering their immigration-screening practices. Measures include capturing biometric data, adopting objective points-based screening systems, extending their networks into source-country institutions, and international border collaboration. However, these efforts may be compromised by the proliferation of fraudulent documentation. To take one example, in the fiscal year 2005, US Customs and Border Protection apprehended 84,000 individuals entering the US with fraudulent documentation.
Paper chase: Document fraud in the immigration process examines the rising trend of global migration and the extent of the challenge posed by fake documentation in policing this migration. The key findings include:
· Governments see the economic benefit of allowing inwards migration. Skilled labour is becoming increasingly mobile, and with skills shortages and slow population growth in the developed world, governments recognise the importance of allowing free flows of labour. Although incentives to let in migrants from the developing world are therefore rising, there is little international consensus on how migration should be managed.
· International efforts to monitor migration have been inadequate. The movement of people across borders, unlike that of goods or trade, remains largely unregulated at an international level. A weak institutional and legal framework means that any shift to a more rigorous multilateral regime will be difficult.
· “Objective” immigration systems may lead to more false documentation. The need for particular skills is prompting governments to implement more “objective” systems to grade potential immigrants. Points-based or similar systems·whereby immigrants are prioritised according to education and skill levels, amongst other factors·seem likely to become more popular. In turn, however, this may increase the incentive to forge documents supporting educational or skill-level claims. The proliferation of fake academic certificates is a particular problem.
· Border controls are strained when balancing vigilance with volume. Increasing migrant numbers have put a great strain on immigration authorities, which must cope with an overwhelming number of applicants and variety of documentation. The monotony of the work and the absence of international systems to verify supporting documentation mean some applications based on fraudulent claims will slip through the net.
· Immigration controls are being deepened. The response of many host countries to these challenges has been to “deepen” their systems and to try to institute more checks in a migrant’s country of origin. But a large number of visa applications may be based on fraudulent documentation.
· Technology on its own cannot solve the problem. A greater reliance on technology, such as the use of biometric information in passports and visas, is becoming common, making conventional travel documents harder to forge. But such technology can only fix a particular identity, not prove whether the identity itself is valid or based on fraudulent documentation. Nor may mass document verification be the answer: individuals may instead have to build their own identities using third-party corroboration.
“Governments see the benefits of allowing freer flows of migrant labour,” says David Line, editor of the report, “yet this raises political and practical problems in policing borders, especially with the prevalence of fake documentation. It isn’t clear how to solve this problem.”
- 언론 연락처
- Edgar Fernandez
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