Reception Conditions


Country Report: Reception Conditions Last updated: 22/05/23


The Chapter: Reception Conditions in Spain contains sections on:

A. Access and forms of reception conditions

  1. Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions
  2. Forms and levels of material reception conditions
  3. Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions
  4. Freedom of movement

B. Housing

  1. Types of accommodation
  2. Conditions in reception facilities

C. Employment and education

  1. Access to the labour market
  2. Access to education

D. Health care

E. Special reception needs of vulnerable groups

F. Information for asylum seekers and access to reception centres

  1. Provision of information on reception
  2. Access to reception centres by third parties

G. Differential treatment of specific nationalities in reception


Short overview of the reception system


The coordination and management of the reception of asylum seekers falls under the responsibility of the State Secretary for Migration (Secretaría de Estado de Migraciones, SEM) of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration. The SEM also supervises and coordinates the Directorate General of Migration (Dirección General de Migraciones), the Directorate General for the Humanitarian Assistance and Social Inclusion of Migrants (Dirección General de Atención Humanitaria e Inclusión Social de la Inmigración) and the Directorate General for the International Protection and Temporary Protection Reception System  (Dirección General del Sistema de Acogida de Protección Internacional y Temporal).[1] The SEM is competent for developing the Governmental policy on foreigners, immigration and emigration. In addition, through the DGSAPIT, it develops and manages the comprehensive system for reception and integration of asylum seekers, refugees, stateless person, persons with temporary protection, and beneficiaries of the subsidiary protection.

The Asylum Act provides that reception services shall be defined by way of Regulation.[2] During many years, and until 2022, detailed rules on the functioning of the Spanish reception system  were provided through a non-binding handbook,[3] as the Regulation implementing the Asylum Act was pending from 2009. Finally, on March 2022, the Government adopted the Royal Decree 220/2022 of 29 March, approving the Regulation governing the international protection reception system.[4] The new Regulation entered into force on 31 March 2022. It provides that the 2021 Reception Handbook and its Annex on the procedure on managing the international protection reception plan will be applicable in case certain rules are not developed and detailed by the same Regulation.

In principle, applicants for international protection are granted reception conditions and thus referred to a shelter as soon as they apply for asylum. Nevertheless, there have been major shortcomings in the reception system in recent years, rendering the access to reception difficult in practice (e.g. waiting periods reaching up to 1 month) and resulting in homelessness in certain cases.

The duration of reception conditions (accommodation, assistance and financial support) should last 18 months, which can reach a maximum of 24 for vulnerable cases, following the exceptional authorisation by the competent authority. The reception system is currently divided into three phases: 1) initial assessment and referral; 2) reception; 3) autonomy.

On 15 December 2022, the SEM adopted an instruction detailing the requirements for accessing and staying in the international protection reception system.[5] Among other issues, the instruction foresees that the phase of initial assessment and referral, despite being part of the reception system, does not  count while calculating the 18-month (or 24-month) period of stay, and that just the other two phases are taken into consideration for the calculation of the duration.

The State Secretary for Migration of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration directly manages four reception facilities for asylum seekers, which are collective centres. In addition, 20 NGOs run reception centres for asylum seekers, through funds granted by the State Secretary for Migration. Many of these facilities are apartments. It has to be noted that in 2022 there has also been a change for what concerns funding of reception facilities managed by NGOs, with the provision of direct funding to certain organisations.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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. A few guidelines (data collection tool, pocket guide, a leaflet for professionals, and posters and leaflets for refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons) were developed.[9] A plan to disseminate the guidelines through targeted trainings will be rolled out in 2023.[10]




[1] Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones, ‘Organización Administrativa – Secretaría de Estado de Migraciones’, available at:

[2] Articles 30(2) and 31(1) Asylum Act.

[3] The first version of the Reception Handbook was published in January 2016 and other four versions were published in the following years. Please refer to previous updates of this report for more information on this regard.

[4] Boletín Oficial del Estado, ‘Real Decreto 220/2022, de 29 de marzo, por el que se aprueba el Reglamento por el que se regula el sistema de acogida en materia de protección internacional’, available in Spanish at:

[5] Migrar con Derechos, ‘Instrucción SEM de 15 de diciembre de 2022. Acceso y permanencia sistema acogida protección internacional’, 15 December 2022, available at:

[6] Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguirdad Social y Migraciones, ‘Subvenciones de concesión directa en el área de protección internacional, aprobadas por el Real Decreto 590/2022, de 19 de julio’, 19 July 2022, available in Spanish at:; Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguirdad Social y Migraciones, ‘Real Decreto 1059/2022, de 27 de diciembre, por el que se modifica el Real Decreto 590/2022, de 19 de julio, por el que se regula la concesión directa de subvenciones a determinadas entidades para la financiación del Sistema de Acogida de Protección Internacional’, 28 December 2022, available in Spanish at:

[7] Europa Press, ‘El Gobierno prevé invertir 190 millones hasta 2023 en la mejora del sistema de acogida a refugiados’, 5 May 2021, available at:

[8] Gaceta, ‘El Gobierno gastará 215 millones del Plan de Recuperación en construir 17 centros de acogida de inmigrantes’, 14 October 2022, available at:

[9] Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones, ‘Inclusión implementa junto a ACNUR el Protocolo de actuación sobre violencia de género en el sistema de acogida’, 23 February 2022, available at:

[10] Information provided by UNHCR in March 2023.

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