The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that Austria will be obliged to examine the asylum application of an Iranian national, if an Austrian court finds that the authorities there failed to transfer him within six months to Bulgaria, where he had previously sought international protection.
Majid Shiri, the asylum seeker, applied for international protection first in Bulgaria, and then in Austria.
Under current EU law known as the Dublin regulation, the member state that was the first point of entry into the EU for asylum seekers - in this case Bulgaria - is obliged to handle asylum applications.
The ECJ said that if Shiri had indeed not been transferred back from Austria to Bulgaria within a six-month time limit, the "responsibility is transferred automatically" to Austria, as outlined in the Dublin III regulation.
The ruling is likely to have repercussions for a number of asylum cases lodged in 2015 and 2016 when a large number of people seeking international protection entered Europe.