This study examines how data are managed in the different phases of the asylum procedure (making, registering, lodging and examining) across the Member States and Norway. It maps data management approaches in the asylum procedure (i.e. data protection and safeguards), examines challenges faced by Member States, and analyses the impact of any procedural changes to enhance data-sharing among asylum authorities (and others). This study reflects the situation and developments in data management in the asylum procedure between 2014 and 2020.
Member States collect different types of data as part of the asylum procedure. However, some categories of data are commonly collected by most, if not all, Member States and Norway, including data on current and/or birth names, birth date, citizenship, contact details, health status, photo and fingerprints, information on family members already in a Member State, vulnerabilities, and level of education.
Data on asylum applicants are primarily collected through oral interviews, questionnaires and electronic tools (for biometric data). However, several Member States have also started to use social media analysis, analysis of mobile devices and artificial intelligence (AI) to collect data on asylum applicants.
Most Member States and Norway cross-check data on asylum applicants against European (i.e. Visa Information System (VIS), Schengen Information System (SIS), Eurodac) and national databases. Only a minority cross-check information against international databases.
Since 2014, most Member States have experienced challenges in data management. These challenges primarily relate to the lack of human or financial resources and the interoperability of (national) databases.
Some Member States changed their data management procedures in response to challenges to the implementation of asylum processes posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the digitalisation of some steps of the asylum procedure and changes in the collection of fingerprints.