Overview of the main changes since the first report

Spain

Author

The first report was last published in April 2016.

 

Asylum procedure

  • Access to the territory: During 2016, there have been several critiques by organisations defending migrants and refugees’ rights in Spain. The last incident happened on 31 December 2016, when a group of more than 1,000 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa tried to jump a high double fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. With the exception of 2 people, all others were returned to Morocco. A similar assault on 9 December 2016 saw more than 400 migrants entering the tiny enclave. A coalition of 85 Spanish NGOs wrote an open letter to the Spanish Minister of Interior, demanding clarification over the potential push backs and the orders given to the Spanish Border Guards.

  • Interpretation: Since June 2016, the Ministry of Interior has changed subcontractors for the provision of interpreters to the OAR and all police offices that register asylum applications in the Spanish territory, for which NGOs do not provide services anymore. The contract was awarded to the Ofilingua translation private company. Since then, several shortcomings have been reported, mainly due to the fact that the agency does not have a specific focus on migration and asylum, for which it did not count on the needed expertise due to the sensible thematic of asylum and did not have the contacts of most of the needed interpreters by the OAR. Also, interpreters who were working before with NGOs are now paid much less and their working conditions have worsened, thereby potentially affecting the quality of their work.

  • Vulnerable groups: OAR’s approach to the protection of victims of trafficking has started changing between the last months of 2016 and January 2017. In that period, 12 sub-Saharan women and their children were granted international protection.

  • Relocation: As of the end of December 2016, Spain had pledged a total of 900 places for relocation, 150 of which for refugees relocated from Italy and 750 from Greece. However, as of early January 2017 only 690 refugees had been relocated. The main nationalities concerned in the relocation process are Syrians for relocation from Greece and Eritreans from Italy. Relocated refugees receive the same treatment as all other asylum seekers and refugees in Spain. Their asylum claims are not officially being assessed under the urgent procedure, although in the practice they receive faster asylum decisions, receiving subsidiary protection a general rule. Upon arrival in Spain, asylum seekers are referred to the OAR for the registration of their asylum application. At the same time, they are immediately placed within the official reception system as all other asylum seekers, in equal conditions relating to duration of reception, conditions and level of financial allowances.

 

Reception conditions

  • Reception capacity: In 2016, more non-governmental organisations were enlisted to provide accommodation: 4 additional organisations were subcontracted by the Ministry of Employment to manage new reception places for asylum seekers and refugees in Spain. The total number of accommodation places has increased from 1,656 places at the end of 2015 to 4,104 at the end of 2016. On the other hand, the Migrant Temporary Stay Centres (CETI) in Ceuta and Melilla have continued to face severe overcrowding in 2016. The two centres, whose maximum capacity is 1,308 places, hosted 2,009 persons at the end of the year.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti