In recent years, the international community has increasingly recognised the immense contribution that migrant and diaspora communities make to the development of their countries of origin and destination. In 2017, the rate of remittance flows to Europe and Central Asia increased by 8%. However, up to 7% of this money was spent on bank fees.
Innovative technologies such as blockchain, which enables decentralised transfer of database from one party to another, could significantly reduce the cost of remittances and speed up money transfers. It could also improve the transparency and accountability of foreign aid and save up to 30% of funds which is wasted on administrative and other costs.
Blockchain technology is already being successfully used in refugee camps in Jordan, where refugees are provided with digital credit cards attached to virtual accounts linked to their biometric data. They can thus pay for goods in the supermarket using iris scan technology. Such systems ensure better accountability and transparency of the use of funds. Blockchain technology can also be used to improve migrants’ access to health services, identification and documentation of their property rights.
Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly should explore the potential of innovative technologies in the field of migration and asylum, with a view to making recommendations to governments on how the use of these technologies should be promoted, legally regulated and further developed.