Feb 15, 2007
It was in June 2006 that the Belgian Council of Ministers decided to set up Foreigner@Card, an electronic card for foreign nationals with valid residence permits. A pilot version of the project was launched at the end of December in 3 municipalities (Antwerp, Uccle and Tubize); work in the first municipality was completed earlier this month. The Belgian government plans to equip the entire country by autumn 2007.
The Ministry of the Interior and all Belgian municipalities currently issue paper versions of the card for foreign nationals. The long-term objective is to replace these paper versions with electronic cards that can store certificates and will be issued in a controlled, secure environment, in line with the Belgian identity card. This new card will enable foreign nationals residing in Belgium to benefit from the online services provided by the country.
Foreigner@Card will be the electronic equivalent of the "blue" card for European citizens and the "white" and "yellow" cards for citizens of countries outside the European Union that are currently in use.
It will be set up centrally and under controlled conditions and will be delivered according to strict security criteria. Furthermore, Foreigner@Card's complex structure and integrated authentication characteristics (and eventually the option to include biometric data) will make it much more difficult to falsify.
This new card is part of the Belgian government's initiative to simplify and modernise administrative procedures.
Steria is responsible for adapting the entire IT infrastructure and all the necessary services for the central system at the National Register and installations in the 3 pilot municipalities. Data exchanged between the municipalities and the National Register will be protected using the strictest PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) standards.
4.5 million Belgian citizens now carry an electronic identity card. 12,000 such cards are issued and activated every day in nearly 600 Belgian municipalities, all using the IT infrastructure designed (both hardware and software programs) and managed by Steria over the last few years.
Steria: modernising European governments:
Steria has sound knowledge of the public sector and provides a comprehensive offer, combining its skills in consulting, systems integration and managed services. This expertise enables it to partner European governments in rolling out extensive modernisation projects. The Group's ability to manage large-scale IT projects with commitment to results and deadlines and to take control of its customers' IT infrastructures makes it a trusted partner for public services. More than 50 ministries and 60 public bodies currently work with Steria in Europe, from customs authorities in Denmark and Norway, Swedish social security, police forces in Norway, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden, the Belgian and French Ministries of the Interior, the Spanish, Belgian and French Ministries of Economy and Finance, the British and French Ministries of Defence, the German, Norwegian Armed Forces and the French Navy, the French Ministry of Culture, the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Health and the British Home Office, to the Ministry of Modernisation in Norway.