Profiling and selecting: an advisory report on the use of profiling in the implementation of immigration policy

Full version Government's response

In this report the Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs presents the results of the use of profiling by organisations in the immigration system. The Committee recommends to ensure there is an explicit statutory basis for the exchange and linkage of data files and the use of profiles.

Summary report

(The full version of the advisory report is available in Dutch only)

The use of profiling in implementing immigration policy is still at an early stage. In the ACVZ’s view, technological developments in the field of data collection and analysis make it inevitable that, in the future, government will make increasing use of big data techniques on which profiling will more and more frequently be based. The same applies to the organisations responsible for implementing immigration policy. On the basis of the study, the ACVZ argues that it is essential  to develop a clear and future-proof framework in which the use of profiles in immigration policy is subject to adequate safeguards.

The study further shows that organisations in the immigration system that use profiling have not yet or not yet fully introduced the appropriate working methods. In some cases, indicators have not been precisely defined, in others cooperation between the department responsible for analysis and operational staff is lacking. Adequate monitoring and evaluation are not always in place. In all the profiles studied, there was no regular comparison with random samples; as a result, the consequences of working with profiles are not sufficiently clear. Also there is usually no clear statutory basis for the exchange and linkage of files containing personal data and the use of profiles.

The ACVZ recommends to:

  • Ensure there is an explicit statutory basis for the exchange and linkage of data files and the use of profiles; make sure that profiling is only employed if the requisite legal safeguards, such as the principle of non-discrimination, the criteria of necessity and proportionality, and the presence of independent supervision, have been met.
  • Improve the quality of profile application, which means: conduct a privacy impact assessment, test the profile, guarantee feedback of results, compare the results of profiling with random samples, adequate monitoring and evaluation, address the question of whether the costs outweigh the benefits.