Dublin is a legislative framework for determining which Dublin State is responsible for examining a specific asylum application. The Dublin States are all of the EU States plus the four associated States (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). In Switzerland, the SEM is responsible for examining asylum applications.

When an asylum seeker submits an application in Switzerland, Switzerland must first establish whether or not it is actually responsible for processing this person's asylum application. It does this on the basis of the criteria set out in the Dublin Regulation. If another State is found to be responsible, Switzerland will transfer the asylum seeker to that State.

The purpose of this system is to ensure that one State is clearly responsible for examining each asylum application. This system of responsibility is designed to give all asylum seekers access to the asylum procedure and to guarantee prompt processing of their applications. This should ensure that all asylum seekers have their applications examined and that no two States are examining the same application.

Dublin is frequently mentioned in association with Eurodac, the technical toolbox for implementing the Dublin Regulation. Eurodac is a database used to store the fingerprints of all asylum seekers. When an individual makes an asylum application in Switzerland, Switzerland can crosscheck the records in the Eurodac database to see whether that person has already submitted an asylum application in another Dublin State.

The Dublin Regulation has already undergone two amendments. The latest Dublin III Regulation entered into force throughout the EU on 19 July 2013.

The current amendment proposal by the European Commission of 4 May 2016 was a response to the migration crisis of 2015. The proposal focuses on strengthening the Dublin system by enhancing the efficiency of procedures. Another important goal is to curb secondary migration. Further, the proposal contains a mechanism for providing solidarity support to Dublin member states under considerable pressure from migration. The EU Member States have not yet been able to reach an agreement on the Commission’s proposal of 4 May 2016.


Last modification 24.04.2021

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