Eurodac is a large-scale IT system that helps with the management of European asylum applications since 2003, by storing and processing the digitalised fingerprints of asylum seekers and irregular migrants who have entered a European country. In this way, the system helps to identify new asylum applications against those already registered in the database.
It is used by 32 countries: 28 EU Member States and 4 Associated Countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). National asylum authorities use Eurodac to store new fingerprints and compare existing records on asylum seekers. Law enforcement authorities and Europol can access the system – under strict conditions –to prevent, detect and investigate terrorist and other serious criminal offences.
The revised Eurodac Regulation will:
reinforce Eurodac in order to reflect changes to the Dublin mechanism and make sure that it continues to be effective in providing the biometric evidence needed to establish the responsibility for asylum;
contribute to the fight against irregular migration by extending Eurodac’s scope and allowing the storage of, and searching using biometric data, of irregular migrants found illegally staying in the EU and facilitating returns.
The system will continue to be a valuable tool for officers deployed at borders and hotspots. Furthermore, it will bring added-value to those Member States that, even if they are not situated on EU external borders, must deal with an increasing need to be able to store and compare information on irregular migrants that were found illegally staying on their territory.