The Dublin Procedure
Switzerland has applied the Dublin Association Agreements since 12th December 2008. The 27 Member States of the European Union and the three associated states Iceland, Norway and Switzerland compose the Dublin Area. These 30 states employ the same regulations, in order to determine the state responsible for examining a specific asylum application.
The Dublin Procedure is mainly based on two regulations, one by the European Council and one by the European Commission, which lay down the criteria for determining the Member State responsible. These two regulations have thus been integral components of the Swiss Asylum and Alien Law since 12th December 2008.
The Dublin Regulations do not harmonise the asylum procedure amongst the Member States, but merely pronounce the criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for conducting the asylum procedure. However, the individual asylum application is to be examined according to the respective national asylum law of the competent Member State.
The Dublin Regulations aim to achieve that each application for asylum is to be examined by one Member State only. It is thus one of the objectives of the regulations to prevent asylum seekers from lodging several asylum applications in various Member States. It still remains possible for asylum seekers to apply for international protection in any Member State, but after having employed the criteria of the Dublin regulation, another Member State might prove to be responsible for the the asylum application. If an application has been rejected by one of the Member States, the asylum seeker cannot task another Member State with re-examining it. If the asylum claimant files a further application with another Member State nonetheless, this latter Member State will not be obliged to examine it.
Furthermore, the criteria of the Dublin Regulations warrant that one Member State can always be determined as being responsible for conducting the asylum procedure. This mechanism shall eventually avoid the phenomenon of so-called refugees in orbit; i.e. asylum seekers whose applications are not being examined by any Member States, since no Member State considers itself responsible.
The Dublin Regulations can merely apply to third-country nationals, i.e. persons who are not in possession of a Member State citizenship. Assuming that a citizen of a Member State is lodging an asylum application in Switzerland, the Dublin Regulations are not applicable.