VSC Workstations Helping to Secure Europe’s Borders as Rising Numbers of Refugees Present Fake Documents when Seeking Asylum


With record numbers of migrants seeking asylum in Germany, the country’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has invested in the latest document examination equipment from Foster+Freeman in order to authenticate, with forensic precision, the nationality, date-of-birth, and true identity of the thousands of refugees seeking to enter the country every day.

In the first nine months of 2016, Germany received 420,000 requests for asylum, 20% more than the rest of Europe combined. In many of these cases, the migrants presented identity papers to BAMF staff tasked with assessing their right to asylum.

At the front line of examination, Foster+Freeman Eye-D systems are used to quickly interrogate passports, ID cards and other identity documents under a selection of UV, Visible and Infrared light sources. Compact and cost-effective, the Eye-D can be used to reveal hidden document security features and detect evidence of tampering and alterations not visible to the naked eye.

High-level forgeries and questioned documents are referred to the BAMF diploma lab in Nuremberg where trained document examiners use Foster+Freeman VSC instruments to ascertain the validity of documents using advanced forensic analysis techniques.

Last year, the Nuremberg lab investigated 99,000 documents, using VSC workstations to reveal evidence of chemically removed inks, very slight alterations made to genuine documents, and a number of very high quality forgeries.


Why Do Refugees Present Fake Documents?

Approximately 40% of the migrants requesting asylum in Germany present documents as proof of identity. With governments across Europe being urged by the electorate to tighten their border controls, a large number of migrants are using counterfeit or modified ID to boost their chances of being accepted into a country. Common alterations made to passports and travel documents include adjustment to the date of birth (in order to be classified as a minor) and alterations to place of birth or nationality (as asylum applications from some countries are more likely to be successful than others).



Amendments are made to passports and ID documents

Increasing the Stringency of Frontline Document Examination

Any traveller that crosses a border (for business, leisure, or migration etc.) will be acquainted with the use of simple technological document examination solutions. E-Passport scanners are widely used in air, land and sea ports to provide a quick pass or fail examination of passports and identity cards. However, while these high-throughput devices are low-cost and easy to use, they should only be considered as supplemental to the examination of a document by a trained expert.

In order to strengthen security at this stage of the examination process, Foster+Freeman manufacture a full suite of document examination products including the VSC-QC1+, a frontline document examination system with multi-spectral UV-Vi-IR illumination, embedded data decoders, and advanced analysis features including live facial comparison. Using the VSC-QC1+, front line document examiners are able to subject travel documents to a level of interrogation that goes far beyond that of a simple E-Passport scanner but without compromising speed or ease of use.



Syrian refugees cross the Austria-Hungary border en route to Germany

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