Digitalization of Migration Records Leads to Detection of Fraud

Posted: 
03/09/06

The Deputy Director of Nicaragua's
Migration and Alien Affairs, Nidia Barboza, reported that a series
of irregularities were recently detected in migration procedures,
mainly during passport issuance or in the issuance of travel
authorizations for minors.

Barboza added that the irregularities had been
detected thanks to the digitalization process recently carried out
by IOM.

A number of lawyers are believed to be
responsible for the fraud. And at least 10 attorneys have been
banned by the Migration Directorate to carry out migration
procedures.

Barboza also confirmed that there have been
cases of birth certificates issued to foreign citizens and
passports issued with forged identities using copies of birth
certificates.

Allegations made by the Migration and Alien
Affairs Office led to the removal of a Judge by the High Court of
Justice for issuing copies of birth certificates to foreign
citizens.

The digitalization project, coordinated by the
IOM Regional Office in San José, Nicaragua's Ministry of the
Interior and the Migration Directorate, created a digital database
for migration officials to manage information and proceedings in a
timely, reliable and secure manner. The existing infrastructure and
technology were found to be below the minimum standards required to
effectively gather, process, control and issue passports.

The project will allow the office to
digitalize and store historical information from some 1.4 million
files, which add up to some 8.4 million images as well as the more
than 350 files opened everyday for Nicaraguans requesting travel
documents.

The digitalization of the files is also
allowing the Directorate to reduce costs, increase efficiency,
reduce processing time, improve performance and minimize errors.
The new system will, at the same time, provide substantial benefits
in terms of security levels, opportunity and reliability of
existing migration information.

Phase I of the project was funded by IOM's
1035 Facility, which provides special support to IOM Developing
Member States and Member States with Economies in Transition for
the development and implementation of joint government-IOM projects
to address particular areas of migration management. Since its
creation in 2001, the Facility has supported over 120 projects
benefiting over 80 Member States.

If additional funding is obtained, the
digitalization of records will be implemented in other services
provided by the Directorate that include approval and issuance of
residence permits and visas for countries with entry restrictions
and the granting of nationality and other services required for the
regularization of foreigners residing in the country.

For more information contact:

Jorge Peraza

IOM San José

Tel: (506) 224.1152

E-mail: "mailto:jperaza@iom.int" target="_blank" title=
"">jperaza@iom.int