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Ecorys to research lowering the fingerprinting age and storing of visa applicants ‘VIS’

Ecorys will investigate adaptations to the EU’s Visa Information System (VIS) to fight child trafficking and aid in addressing irregular migration.

Assigned by the European Commission DG HOME, Ecorys is to study these issues surrounding the VIS. This is in line with the Commission’s SMART BORDERS package. Ecorys has been commissioned to conduct this study due to immigration flow rising. In 2009 there were around 400 million air border crossings on record. It is expected this number will rise to 720 million in 2030. A smarter and more efficient approach is needed to manage the borders without great delays.

The main tasks of the study are:
1. Investigating the necessity, feasibility and proportionality of storing a copy of the travel documents of applicants in the VIS;
2. Investigating the necessity, feasibility and proportionality of lowering the fingerprinting age from 12 to 6.

Ultimately, these adaptions should lead to the facilitation of more effective returns of irregular migrants, and more effective combating of child trafficking. The European Commission called for the exploration of the possibility to reduce the age limit for collecting fingerprints of children from 6 years old and onward. This was never an option before due to technical complications, as fingerprints develop from that age.

The study has been kicked-off, and the deadline is set early February. Most of the field research will be done in 11 of the Schengen countries, reaching from Malta to Sweden.

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