IBZ

Belgian Home Affairs Cracks Down on Visa Application Fraud with BizTalk

Working with the EU to stop short-term stay visa fraud and tighten visa regulations within the Schengen states.

  • Solutions in this case
Executive summary

To stop the rise of visa application fraud across the Schengen states, the EU developed a centralized European Visa Information System. Each member state was responsible for making sure applicant information reaches this system. The Belgian Home Affairs Office was the first country to streamline their visa application data using a BizTalk based message broker.

  • Challenge
  • Approach
  • Results

Challenge

The biggest challenge for the IT team of the Belgian Home Affairs Office was finding a solution to seamlessly transfer data to the new European Visa Information System (VIS). VIS is a central database that contains all information about applications for short-stay visas for the Schengen zone. Codit stepped in to help them find a solution.

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Toward smarter borders

The new European Visa Information System (VIS) was introduced to crack down on fraudulent visa activities such as ‘visa shopping’. This is where applicants who are rejected for a visa in one Schengen State, apply for visas in multiple Schengen States until one is granted.

The EU decided to combat this by having one centralized visa system. By streaming the Schengen States visa data into one central system, member states can see if the applicant had been previously rejected for a visa from a different Schengen country. However, it is up to each member state to find a way to get their visa application data into this system.

The challenge the IT team of the Belgian Home Affairs Office faced was how to integrate their data with VIS. They decided to partner with Codit to help them find an integration solution.

Thanks to this centralized information, the users now have a much better overview of the data flow.

Filip Pynckles Director-General ICT, FPS Home Affairs

Approach

The Belgium Home Affairs Office partnered up with Codit to find a solution. Codit suggested data integration via Microsoft BizTalk Server.

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Smooth data exchange between multiple stakeholders

The Belgian Home Affairs Office also wanted the app to work in a standard development environment, making it easier to train developers. They decided to go ahead with Microsoft technology to meet this requirement. The Codit team was chosen based on their in-depth knowledge of BizTalk and Microsoft technologies. Codit implemented the BizTalk message broker, a software that can seamlessly send data from one app to another.

“BizTalk Server is user-friendly and offers a standard development environment,” says Filip Pynckels, Director-General ICT of the FPS Home Affairs. “It’s also important that we can find developers who can work with BizTalk without too much trouble, both now and in the future”

Results

Thanks to the smooth partnership with Codit, Belgium was one of the first countries to be set to go for the European project.

While they waited for VIS to be ready for action, the Belgian government benefitted from the new technology at the national level. The ‘message broker’ streamlined communication between the FPS Foreign Affairs, the Immigration Department and the Federal Police. It also helped them keep in-depth statistics so they were able to make high-level decisions with more clarity.

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Unambiguous visa information

The improved information flows mean the three Belgian partners can now easily exchange information. They’re also able to see the complete flow of data through the system, what data is sent to where and by whom. Because they have a better overview of the complete picture, they’re able to react effectively to any problems or delays in processing visas.

The Belgian FPS Home Affairs are satisfied with the Codit partnership. “Codit certainly turned out to be the ideal partner, with a good price-quality ratio,” confirms Thierry Vandenberghe, project manager at the FPS Home Affairs. “We prefer to choose certified players with extensive technical knowledge. Their financial strength also played a role, since this offers a bigger guarantee of continuity in services.”

A long-term partnership

“The project went without a hitch. We’d like the partnership to continue for a long time.”

Filip Pynckels Director-General ICT, FPS Home Affairs

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