Is AI Deciding on Your Visa Application?
The use of AI in government visa processing is increasing globally. We list how countries such as the United States, Canada, European nations, and others are utilizing AI to enhance efficiency and security in visa applications. However, the use of AI may raise questions about privacy, fairness, and transparency.
How Different Countries are Using AI in Visa Processing
- United States: The U.S. Department of State has been clear that they are integrating machine learning, AI, and Natural Language Processing tools to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and security in visa processing. This technology supports consular services in Asia Pacific countries, including Australia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. We wonder if it is only deployed overseas due to privacy laws.
- Canada: Canada has been experimenting with different technologies in its immigration, border control, and refugee systems. One tool in use since 2018 was rumored to use AI, however the government claims that it is simply an excel-based tool used to sort visitor record applications before human review. In 2020, Canada developed advanced analytics and machine learning to automate parts of the Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) process, particularly for online applications from China and India. Whether these methods are equitable or fair remains unclear.
- European countries and the United Kingdom: Many European countries have been integrating AI into their immigration systems. For example, the UK Home Office has used AI algorithms since 2015 to filter applications by assessing the risk of fraud. However, racism biases have resulted in a pause of use.
- Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong, China: Immigration authorities in these countries are also streamlining processing systems using machine learning and other technologies. Japan's integration of robot-assisted technology, implemented in major international airports since 2021, aims to enhance the travel experience while ensuring rigorous border security.