Special reception needs of vulnerable groups



In the Spanish reception system, efforts are made to place asylum seekers in the reception place which best fits their profile and needs depending on their age, sex, household, nationality, existence of family networks, maintenance, etc. A case by case assessment is made between OAR and the NGO in charge of the reception centres and, after assessing the availability of reception spaces and the individual characteristics of the applicant, the person is placed in the place that responds to his or her needs.

As asylum seekers’ placement is made on case by case basis, it could be stated that there is an ongoing monitoring mechanism which takes into consideration the response to reception needs of each person concerning the mentioned profiles.

In addition, based on vulnerability factors referred to under the Asylum Law, most vulnerable profiles are allowed to longer reception compared to the normal 18-month period. For vulnerable profiles, the first phase can last until 9 months, the second until 11 and the third phase until 4, thereby totalling 2 years of reception.

Nonetheless, available resources have a generalised approach, and they do not cover needs necessities presented by the most vulnerable asylum applicants, who are referred to external and more specialised services in case they need them. The Spanish reception system in fact does not provide special reception places addressed to asylum applicants such as victims of trafficking (with the exception only 2 places made available by the Adoratrices Project), victims of torture or persons with mental disorders.

NGO La Merced Migraciones was for a long time the only specialised organisation in charge of ad hoc reception for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, but no longer provides such services. Since 2016 there are no specialised resources for unaccompanied asylum seeking-children, and they are hosted in general centers for unaccompanied minors.

The generalised approach of the asylum reception system has been criticised by several organisations in 2016, including Amnesty International,1 UNICEF2 and the Spanish Ombudsman,3 as it fails to provide adequate responses to the most vulnerable cases.

  • 1. Amnesty International, El asilo en España: Un sistema de acogida poco acogedor, May 2016, available in Spanish at: https://goo.gl/G1YtPi, 37.
  • 2. UNICEF, Acogida en España de los niños refugiados, 2016, available in Spanish at: https://goo.gl/SaBZgo.
  • 3. Spanish Ombudsman, El asilo en España: La protección internacional y los recursos del sistema de acogida, June 2016, available in Spanish at: https://goo.gl/rJrg3k, 64.

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