Reception conditions for asylum seekers in Spain include the coverage of personal expenses for basic necessities and items for personal use, transportation, clothing for adults and children, educational activities, training in social and cultural skills, learning of hosting country language, vocational training and long life training, leisure and free time, child care and other complementary educational type, as well as aid to facilitate the autonomy of the beneficiaries and others of extraordinary nature.
The Reception Handbook elaborates the different forms of reception conditions offered in each phase of the reception system:
- Assessment and referral phase: Applicants receive: (a) basic information on the reception system; (b) basic and immediate assistance i.e. hygiene kits, baby food, health check and care; (c) physical transport or financial assistance to ensure transport to lodge the asylum application or to a reception place; (d) temporary accommodation until a place is available in the reception system.
- First phase: Applicants receive, inter alia: (a) reception and support; (b) hygienic products (including for children); (c) a medical certificate for detecting and treating, if necessary, sexually transmitted diseases; (d) social assistance, which includes, i.e., information on public and private services, basic legal information, medical cards, city registration, renewal of documentation, schooling, (d) cultural orientation, (e) cultural and leisure activities, (f) assessment of specific needs, etc.
- Second phase: Applicants receive, inter alia: (a) identification services as well as an assessment and follow-up of possible vulnerabilities or specific reception needs; (b) social assistance, which includes, i.e., information on public and private services and basic legal information, (c) information and accompaniment for the purpose of securing housing; (d) information on the social context in Spain, the Spanish administration and authorities, basic legislation, training in practical skills, rights and obligations of citizens; (e) consensual elaboration of an itinerary for the preparation to an autonomous life; etc.
Financial allowances and further details are decided on a yearly basis and published by the DGIAH. These amounts are based on the available general budget for reception of the Directorate-General. The latest Resolution call for proposals (subvenciones) co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the European Social Fund (ESF), was published by the DGIAH on 1 April 2019.
All asylum seekers hosted in the first phase are given the amount of €50 per month per person (to cover personal out-of-pocket expenses), plus €20 per month for each minor in charge. In addition to this pocket money they receive on a monthly basis, other necessities are also covered after presenting a receipt of the expense when it regards: public transport, clothing, health related expenses, education and training related expenses, administration proceedings related expenses, translation and interpretation fees.
During the second phase, protection holders are not provided with accommodation anymore; they live in private apartments and housing. They receive no pocket money, although expenses for the rent are covered by the asylum system. They can also receive additional financial support for covering basic needs (Atención a las necesidades básicas). The maximum amount of the latter varies according to the number of persons composing the family and further depends on whether they benefit from additional financial support for other types of expenses (ayudas puntuales) such as health, education, training, birth.
Financial assistance to asylum seekers could be considered as adequate or sufficient during the first phase, as it is aimed to cover all basic needs. However, during the second phase of reception, conditions and financial support are not meant to be adequate, as they are conceived as extra assistance for supporting refugees’ gradual integration in the host society.
Main obstacles for asylum applicants are faced after passing the first phase, as the system foresees an initial degree of autonomy and self-maintenance which is hardly accomplishable in 6 months’ time, and almost impossible in the case of applicants who have difficulties in learning and speaking the Spanish language, and thus face greater barriers to access to employment. The SEM instruction of January 2021 also aims to address these issues.
Evictions or attempts to conduct evictions of Syrian and Palestinian asylum seekers from their houses have been reported during 2020 in Zaragoza and near Madrid, due to the above-mentioned challenges they face in securing material resources to pay their rent. In October 2020, however, an eviction of a Palestinian family near Madrid was suspended by a judge, in light of the documentation and the vulnerability report submitted by the organisation SOS Racismo.
 DGIAH, Reception Handbook, June 2020, K.1., 24.
 DGIAH Resolution of 1 April 2019 on a call for proposals in the area of international protection and for socio-medical assistance in the CETI of Ceuta and Melilla, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2EV6RpP.