Overview of the main changes since the previous report update


Country Report: Overview of the main changes since the previous report update Last updated: 22/05/23


The last version of this report was updated in April 2022.


International protection

Asylum procedure

  • Access to territory and pushbacks: In 2022, 31,219 migrants arrived to Spain by land and sea, which represents a decrease of 25.6% compared to the 41,945 arrivals in 2021. While the arrivals to mainland and the Canary Islands decreased in 2022, the number of persons who arrived to Ceuta and Melilla increased compared to the previous year. Pushbacks practice continued in 2022. At the beginning of March, around 2,500 people attempted to enter Melilla by jumping the fence, and almost 500 managed to access to the enclave. Many organisations denounced the violence used by the police against migrants that attempted the jump, which resulted in about 20 people being hospitalised and 30 pushed-back. On 24 June, around 2,000 persons attempted to enter Melilla from Morocco by jumping the fence, resulting in 37 persons dead and hundreds injured, while 133 individuals managed to enter the Spanish enclave. Different organisations expressed concerns regarding the use of indiscriminate violence in border management activities. In addition, various organisations, migrants’ groups, political parties, and institutions asked for an independent investigation to be carried out to clarify the situation and to ascertain political accountability.
  • Situation on the Canary Islands and in the Mediterranean: Regarding the number of deaths in the Mediterranean, several figures have been reported. The NGO Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) estimated that 2,390 persons died while reaching Spain in 2022, being 1,784 those who lost their life in the Canary route. It further reported that 288 of victims were women, 101 were children, and that a total of 64 vessels disappeared with all persons on board. In addition, according to the organisation, 11,522 persons died at the Euro-African Western border from 2018 to 2022; that means an average of 6 deaths per day.
  • Key asylum statistics: A total of 118,842 persons applied for international protection in Spain in 2022. Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Morocco and Honduras were the top five nationalities of applicants. Among them, 54.04% were men, while 45.96% were women. As regards decision making at first instance, a total of 51,838 applications were rejected, while the refugee status was granted to 6,830 persons, subsidiary protection to 7,405 persons and 20,924 were granted protection for humanitarian reasons. The recognition rate remained low, with only around 12% of cases being recognised international protection. It should however be highlighted that the overall recognition rate reaches almost 30% if decisions granting humanitarian protection are taken into account. The top 5 countries of persons granted any form of international protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) in 2022 were Mali, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, and Colombia. At the end of the year, 92,152 applications were still pending at first instance.
  • Partial reform of the definition of ‘refugee’: In February 2023, Article 3 of the Asylum Law was modified by the law for the equal opportunities of transgender persons and guarantees of rights of LGTBI people, in relation to the definition of ‘refugee’, by the introduction of ‘gender identity’ as a ground of persecution.
  • Automatic suspension of the expulsion procedure while waiting for the asylum decision: In December 2021, the High Court (Tribunal Supremo) issued a decision establishing that an application for international protection implies the automatic suspension of the return procedure for cases of irregular stay, until the competent asylum authorities issue a decision which rejects or declares the application inadmissible. This means that the expulsion or return order cannot be executed before a decision on the asylum application has been taken, because during the decision-making period of the asylum application is not possible to consider the stay as irregular.
  • Delays in the appointments for registering the asylum application: During 2022, asylum seekers faced many challenges and long waiting times for obtaining an appointment to express their intention to applying for asylum and for formalising the application, mainly due to a lack of appropriate resources. The selling of appointments on the black market was also reported, arriving to the point of having offers published also in Wallapop. The UNHCR’s Representative defined the situation regarding access to asylum in Spain as critical.


Reception conditions

  • Reforming the reception system: In March 2022, the Government adopted the Royal Decree 220/2022 of 29 March, approving the Regulation governing the international protection reception system. The new Regulation entered into force on 31 March 2022.
  • Enhancing the asylum reception system: To improve the asylum reception system, the Government established it would allocate a total of 190 million Euros between 2021 and 2023 within the Recovery and Resilience Plan. In October 2022, the Government announced that 215 million Euros of the Plan would be used to build 17 reception facilities for migrants and asylum seekers, with a capacity of 6,100 places.
  • Developing mechanisms for preventing and responding to GBV within the asylum reception system: UNHCR supported the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations (MISSM) and NGOs managing reception centres for refugees and asylum seekers in the implementation of national standard operating procedures to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in the reception system, enhancing the reception personnel capacity to adequately detect, refer, and intervene in GBV cases with a survival-centre approach. Some guidelines (data collection tool, pocket guide, a leaflet for professionals, and posters and leaflets for refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons) were developed. A plan to disseminate the guidelines through targeted trainings will be rolled out in 2023.
  • Discrimination and hate crimes: Discrimination and hate crimes against migrants and refugees continued to be a reason of concern in 2022, as they continued to face xenophobia and racism in different contexts (i.e. public transport, education, shops, etc.). Unaccompanied migrant children and LGTBQI+ persons kept on being the target of such crimes.


Detention of asylum seekers

  • Urging better conditions at the CIEs and the CATEs: The Spanish Ombudsman continued to urge the adoption of a regulation for the CIEs and the CATEs. In addition, the Supervising Judges of the CIE of Aluche (Madrid) agreed on a set of measures to improve the health assistance provided to inmates at the facility, such as allowing the use of the infirmary during the night, the provision of psychological assistance and the introduction of digital health records. A protocol to report ill-treatment towards to inmates and to guarantee effective judicial remedies has been also recommended.
  • Access to medical assistance in detention: Concerns on access to medical assistance have been expressed by different stakeholders. In particular, in its 2022 annual report on the situation of CIEs, the Jesuit Migrant Service highlighted the main deficiencies of medical services, such as the medical examinations carried out at the presence of the police, the lack of mental health assistance, the isolation regime for COVID19 cases, the lack of interpreters during medical assistance, etc.


Content of international protection

  • Access to rights: Asylum seekers, migrants and refugees continued to face challenges in accessing rights, especially housing, employment, and financial services, partially due to discriminatory practices. Following a visit carried out in Spain, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Government to improve the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers, especially in relation to accessing social rights, including housing and health.


Temporary protection

The information given hereafter constitute a short summary of the Spain Report on Temporary Protection, for further information, see Annex on Temporary Protection.

Temporary protection procedure

  • Scope of temporary protection: Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the Spanish Government started to design a more flexible and simple mechanism for providing protection to persons fleeing the country, without the necessity for them to lodge an asylum application. In March 2022, the Government adopted two orders extending the temporary protection to Ukrainian nationals, persons and stateless persons legally residing in Ukraine, Ukrainians staying (regularly or irregularly) in Spain before 24 February 2022, and their family members, and detailing the procedure to grant such status. According to such orders, the decision granting temporary protection is adopted by the OAR in 24 hours from the lodging of the application.
  • Non-refoulement: In December 2022, the Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo) granted protection to a Ukrainian family with an expulsion order, and established the criteria that, due to the situation in Ukraine, all Ukrainians living in Spain can automatically invoke the protection from the principle of non-refoulement, without the necessity to lodge an application for temporary protection.
  • Key statistics on temporary protection: During 2022, the Asylum Office granted temporary protection to 161,037 persons fleeing from Ukraine. The permits granted until 16 January 2023 were 163,140. 63% of beneficiaries were women and 37% men; 33% of the total number of beneficiaries were children.
  • Registration: Regarding the registration of applications, the Government has foreseen the possibility of apply for temporary protection both directly at the CREADE and in designated police stations.


Content of temporary protection

  • Housing: To address reception needs, at the beginning of March 2022 the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration adopted a Reception Plan, and provided for the creation of four Emergency and Referral Centres (CREADE), managed by NGOs. Such centres give access to different rights and services, such as: accommodation and maintenance; financial support; schooling and language of Spanish; psychosocial support; job assistance which includes vocational trainings, job guidance, homologation of educational degrees; health assistance; legal support; validation of the driving licence for 1 year; free telephone coverage (roaming). UNHCR has been present at the CREADE to monitor the access to the procedure and the reception conditions.
  • Residence permit: According to the two orders adopted by the Spanish Government in March 2022, temporary protection, as well as the residence and work permit granted, will be automatically renewed for 1 year after 1 year since the granting of the temporary protection. In practice, Spain issues residence and work permits directly for the duration of 2 years.
  • Financial allowances: In August 2022, the Government adopted a Royal Decree providing for the transfer of 80 million Euros to the Autonomous Communities, with the aim of providing a monthly financial support of 400 Euros during a period of 6 months to beneficiaries of temporary protection. The measure aims at supporting those beneficiaries who have not sufficient resources, and are not receiving assistance nor accommodated within the international protection reception system.
  • Healthcare: Persons fleeing from Ukraine have access to the health national system in the same conditions as the rest of the population.
  • Access to the labour market: Beneficiaries of TP are entitled to work in Spain at the same conditions and rights of Spanish workers. They are also entitled to access vocational trainings. According to available data, 13,695 Ukrainians with TP were employed by 31 December 2022.
  • Access to education: The Minister of Education created a dedicated webpage containing information on the access to education for displaced Ukrainians, available also in Ukrainian. In addition, in May 2022 the Ministry of Education started to hire 200 Ukrainian Language Assistants, with the aim of supporting regional authorities in fostering the inclusion of Ukrainian children in schools.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation