The issue with the Dutch visa application algorithm

The Dutch Data Protection Authority is requesting that the Minister provide an explanation regarding the use of an algorithm to process visa applications.

 Flag, Netherlands Flag, Person

According to, the Dutch Data Protection Authority has requested that Minister Hoekstra appears before them to justify the use of an algorithm by the Ministry to determine the level of scrutiny required for specific visa applications. The algorithm has been accused of potential discrimination, and the Minister is expected to provide information about its use and whether it has been used to target specific foreign nationals.

This request for clarification was made after an investigation by Lighthouse Reports and the NRC uncovered the Netherlands’ use of a secret and potentially illegal algorithm to profile visa applicants based on ethnicity. The investigation, published in April, revealed that despite the Netherlands’ claim to use an automated decision-making system to reduce bias when granting visas to third-country nationals, the country’s algorithmic risk profiling system discriminates against applicants.

‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not among Dutch institutions in the spotlight for structural racism. The Netherlands prides itself on automated decision-making to reduce bias. But the last two years of reporting from Lighthouse Reports have revealed wide-scale use of algorithmic risk profiling systems across the Netherlands’, the Lighthouse Reports stated.