Asylum shopping is a term used to describe the practice by asylum seekers of applying for asylum in several states or seeking to apply in a particular state after transiting other states. The phrase is used mostly in the context of the European Union and the Schengen area, but has been used by the Federal Court of Canada.
One of the objectives of Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters is to prevent asylum shopping. The Dublin Convention stipulates that an asylum seeker is returned to the country where he or she first entered the European Union. Another objective of this policy is to prevent asylum seeker in orbit, where an asylum seeker is transferred between states, none of which is willing to accept the application.
To avoid abuses, European law, the Dublin Regulation, requires that asylum seekers register their asylum claim in the first country they arrive in, and that the decision of the first EU country they apply in, is the final decision in all EU countries. However, among some asylum seekers, the fingerprinting and registration is vehemently resisted in countries that are not considered asylum-seeker friendly, as they often wish to apply for asylum in Germany and Sweden where benefits are more generous.
Some asylum seekers also report that it is common for them to burn their fingers, so they can evade the fingerprint record control in Italy and apply for asylum in a country of their choice. The fingerprint record, known as the Eurodac system, is used to intercept false or multiple asylum claims. In Ireland, two-thirds of failed asylum seekers were found to be already known to the British border authorities, a third of the time under a different nationality, such as Tanzanians claiming to be fleeing persecution in Somalia.
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- Select Committee on European Union Tenth Report, House of Lords
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