Carlos Moreira is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of WISeKey and is the Vice-Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Illicit Trade.

Today, international labour mobility is a well-established phenomenon around the world. Indeed, foreign workers are found in nearly every country. Together with their family members, they account for at least 300 million people, holding jobs at all levels of education and skill, from post-university specialists to manual labourers.

While certain countries are dependent on foreign workers for the operation of their economies, other nations rely heavily on workers’ remittances for foreign exchange and economic development.

Yet, major problems continue to exist in the management of international labour mobility. Irregular flows of undocumented workers are seen as a threat to many richer countries. At the same time, foreign workers face numerous difficulties of language, culture and discriminatory working conditions. In effect, undocumented workers are easily exploited and abused victims of human trafficking operations.

To respond to these challenges, the Global Agenda Council on Illicit Trade plans to help develop standards and technology for a globally recognized and globally verifiable digital identity that governments and NGOs will issue to overseas workers.

The migrant identity” will serve as a secure identity document, a state-of-the-art travel document meeting International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, and a point of access to information, services and transactions through a services platform which will interact with the digital identification.

In effect, the ever increasing need for countries to improve security measures at borders has meant that the movement of legitimate overseas workers has become more and more restricted. Quick verification of data against INTERPOL’s SLTD and Red Notice databases and national databases (origin and destination) before issuing work or residence permits will facilitate the efficient movement of overseas workers with no detrimental impact on the security of the country itself.

The Council believes that a secure, reliable, multi-purpose and internationally recognized globally verifiable identity for migrants, coupled with a services platform providing access to goods and services for overseas workers, will serve the interests of governments, the overseas workers, and the societies and economies of both sending and receiving states.

The Council will develop its plan further in Dubai at the Summit on the Global Agenda 2012, as it believes that a digital identity and services platform will bring direct, quantifiable benefits to governments, foreign workers and their families, employers and the international economy.

Image: Monitor shows fingerprints of a foreign worker who registered himself into biometric fingerprinting system REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad