An ambitious project for an open challenge
Every year hundreds of thousands of migrants cross the borders of western countries seeking asylum protection. The phenomenon of migration is certainly one of the most controversial and complex issues of our times, and poses unresolved questions in the countries where all these people seek protection; in fact, the process of identification, health-checking, accommodation, and integration of all the migrants is a great challenge for the hosting countries, that are called to make a difficult balance between the protection of human rights of the asylum seekers and the needs to ensure public order and safety within their territory. In the European Union, migration policies are structured to require cooperation among Member States in the resettlement of asylum seekers, as well as in the management of the EU fund allocated to face this challenge.
The international collaboration on the immigration sector can be strengthened by using blockchain-based credentials to manage the various processes involving refugees. Blockchain-based credentials might offer an efficient answer to the needs of all the hosting countries for the management of the migrants, as any country could set a system of immutable credentials assigned to the refugee that can be stored in a kind of “digital passport”; this solution can be a turning point for the issuance of authorizations, permits and certifications concerning the reception and integration steps involving each refugee. Thus, blockchain-based credentials would make significant improvements to ensure security and transparency in all the processes involving the refugees, reducing at the same time the risk of fraud, the timing related to administrative procedures and the operative costs.
Decentralized Digital Credentials, whose evidence is published on the blockchain, preserving the credential anonymity, have been developed in multiple use-cases. Unlike a normal “centralized” database, blockchain allows you to make proof of a certain document non-falsifiable, non-lost, non-transferable and instantly verifiable by anyone. Moreover, blockchain-based credentials remain verifiable even if the issuing entities (the credential providers) are no longer operational. The privacy related to the credentials is protected but at the same time such credentials are verifiable directly in the blockchain by third parties. Thanks to the security deriving from this certified evidence, the holders of the credentials can easily access services (i.e. training and placement services); in fact, the suppliers of these services would be able to check — with a click — the identity and any other credential of the person requesting access to the service offered and, at the end — for example — of the training course, they would issue an interoperable certificate, that it can be checked and monitored in real time by the competent authorities. The holder of the credentials has full control of certificates to be shown safely and quickly to third parties, who in turn can verify the truthfulness of what is exhibited in an equally effective manner; last but not least, the provision of the service is irrefutably tracked and can be monitored in real-time.
Within the landscape of blockchain credentials, TiiQu Ltd., English startup active in the blockchain space, proposes an innovative solution that covers all the stages of the stay of the refugee from his/her arrival in the hosting country to all the possible integration steps. Today the management of the migrants’ reception and integration is highly fragmented (due to the wide number of authorities involved in each hosting country), mostly paper-based, and with several potential points of failure. Once the migrant is entered into a certain country, the hosting country needs to issue to each asylum seekers an impressive quantity of documents to certify their ID status, residence permit, health situation, and, in the integration stage, documents proving their educational and working skills. TiiQu intends to overcome all these issues by assigning the refugees, at their arrival in the hosting country, with digital credentials, and publishing on the blockchain the proof of the nominative residency permit, with its expiration date, and any permit renewal; after that, it can be created a digital passport collecting all the blockchain-based credentials for the refugee; during the process of the refugee integration, it could be possible to match an immutable credential to each integration step, by leaving to the organizations that provide the single service the issuance of the credentials; then, such credentials would be collected by the individuals in their digital passport. This mechanism allows the competent authorities to access the anonymous data containing the credentials issued, which can be verifiable in real time; in addition, the accountability of the economic resources assigned to the refugees would be granted thanks to an easy check matching the funds vs the services provided. This application of blockchain technology is able to give the refugee full control of their data and certificates, and, at the same time, to provide the society with a tool for verifying their identity, their skills, qualifications, and the public authorities with a reliable monitoring system on the use of the public resources allocated for the refugees.
In conclusion, it is noteworthy to point out the following benefits from the application of the solution outlined: 1. Transparency of processes and easier check of the expenditure of the funds allocated for the migrants; 2. Reduction of the administrative costs; 3. Immediate traceability of each step of the refugee in an irrefutable way; 4. Enhancement and empowerment of the refugees, in full respect of their dignity and privacy; 5. If adopted in multiple hosting countries, the immutable credentials of the refugees would be instantly verifiable everywhere and would allow the creation and monitoring of transnational integration paths.