Netherlands visa applicant over-stay risk assessments

Occurred: 2023

The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been using an opaque, discriminatory, and possibly illegal algorithm to calculate the risk score of short-stay visa applicants applying to enter the Netherlands and Schengen area

Known internally as Informatie Ondersteund Beslissen (IOB), the system uses variables such as nationality, gender and age to profile visa applicants. Those categorised as ‘high risk’ are automatically moved to an 'intensive track' that can involve extensive investigation and delay.

According to an investigation by journalism collective Lighthouse Reports and NRC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' privacy chief had recommended the system be dropped, to no avail. The Ministry had been called out as riddled with 'structural racism' in a report it had commissioned into its culture in 2022.

Operator: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Country: Netherlands
Sector: Govt - immigration
Purpose: Assess visa applicant over-stay risk
Technology: Risk assessment algorithm
Issue: Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity, gender, age
Transparency: Governance; Marketing