- Publicerad lördag, 12 september 2015 18:14
Each EU-country must register: everyone who has applied for asylum there, everyone they have given a visa, and everyone who has illegally entered the country from a non-EU country. This registration is used to decide which country is responsible for having allowed the person to enter the EU. The same country will be responsible for assessing the application if the person seeks asylum somewhere else in the EU. These rules are collected in an EU-regulation called "The Dublin Regulation", or just "Dublin".
This does not mean that nobody may seek asylum in Sweden. Many people have travelled through other EU countries without registering their fingerprints. Nor are all fingerprints registered solely for this purpose. In 2014, 80,000 people requested asylum in Sweden. Sweden has no external borders other than airports. This means most asylum seekers have entered the EU through another country. In 2014, approximately 8,000 people got a decision to leave Sweden for another EU country because of the Dublin regulation.
When refugees seek asylum in Sweden their details are checked. If their details match a visa application, asylum claim or police records from another EU country's border then the Dublin regulation means that country will be asked to accept the persons asylum application. Usually, fingerprints are the deciding factor.
Fingerprints can be taken at various different times. Fingerprints taken when illegally passing an EU-external border make that country responsible according to the Dublin regulation. That responsibility only lasts for 12 months. However, the person has also often been registered as an asylum seeker and, in that case, the responsibility remains with the country of entry. Fingerprints are stored for ten years for asylum seekers.
Fingerprints taken at the border between two EU countries are not as important in this case since the Dublin regulation is about who allowed entry at the outer border of the EU. Fingerprints taken when someone is arrested within a country are not stored in the common register. They are rarely used to decide which country is responsible - unless the person was registered as seeking asylum at the same time.
Many people who have their fingerprints taken at border posts are also registered as asylum seekers. This means there is little chance of avoiding a Dublin decision by delaying ones asylum application. However, this can be worthwhile for a person who has entered the EU with a visa. The EU-country who granted the visa will be responsible. This responsibility ends six months after the visa expires.
Visas which last more than 3 months, for example those given for work or studies, are counted as residence permits. Residence permits allow for Dublin decisions under a much longer period, at least two years after the residence permit expires. Those who received residence permits due to being granted refugee status or subsidiary protection status cannot be transferred by Dublin but usually receive a swift decision regarding expulsion from Sweden as they are already protected.
Unaccompanied minors are only transferred by Dublin regulation if they have already applied for asylum and received a decision on their claim in another EU country. Unaccompanied minors are not at risk of being sent back just because they had their fingerprints taken or entered on a Schengen visa - unless their age has been re-evaluated to being over 18.
Dublin regulation transfer decisions are difficult to change. Sweden usually requests transfers even when there is the possibility to make an exception.
Reasons to stay in Sweden can include strong family ties or very pressing humanitarian reasons. Transfers can also be stopped to countries who cannot receive asylum seekers. At present, this applies only to Greece. It is advisable to mention close family in Sweden (or other desired destination) as soon as possible. This is especially important for unaccompanied minors, for whom siblings also count as family.
The decision can be challenged in court but the court rarely questions the Migration Agency's decision. Unfortunately, it is not possible to be granted asylum in Sweden for harassment or assault in an EU country.
Sometimes there are pressing individual reasons (spouse and child in Sweden, extreme trauma, demonstrable direct threat in the other EU country - which cannot however be formally taken into account) and a case worker may "forget" to process the transfer. In this case the statute of limitations is 6 months. This is, however, a rare occurrence.
It is much more common that people go underground and stay in Sweden until 18 months have passed. The statute of limitations is 18 months where the transfer has not been completed because the person could not be found. However, this means living illegally in Sweden and lacking most rights. After this time has passed the person can seek asylum.
The 6 or 18 months are counted from the date that the other country accepts the transfer. The exception to this rule is if the person has challenged the decision and the transfer is cancelled while the challenge is processed (inhibition). The time is then counted from when the inhibition ends.
One way to get around the time limits is to have left the EU for at least 3 months or to let oneself be deported to one's country of origin instead of the other EU country. If the person then comes back to the EU the Dublin decision is no longer valid. This requires firm proof of exit such as passport stamps or similar.
Another important point is that if a person has already been granted residency in the other country then they are unlikely to be able to apply for asylum in Sweden, even if the original Dublin decision has expired. If it was a permit not based on need of protection (for example a work permit) then it is sometimes possible. If the person has refugee status or subsidiary protection status is is most likely impossible. The person can, however, with help of documentation from the country issuing the residence permit, travel within the EU and build networks that may, for example, result in job offers. An asylum seeker or person with EU-residency can then apply from their country to request a work permit or residency based on family ties. They do not need to return to their country of origin to apply.
Please note that there are many exceptions to these rules and individual situations can be very complex.
Read about "Dublin" in detail in Swedish.
Read about the rules directly in the Dublin regulation.
Download FARR's Good Advice for asylum seekers in Sweden. Good Advice is available in six languages and also includes some information on "Dublin".