Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions

Spain

Country Report: Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions Last updated: 30/11/20

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Article 33 of the Asylum Act provides that asylum seekers’ access to reception conditions may be reduced or withdrawn in the following cases, where:

  1. The applicant leaves the assigned place of residence without informing the competent authority or without permission;
  2. The applicant obtains economic resources and could deal with the whole or part of the costs of reception conditions or has any hidden economic resources;
  3. The resolution of the application for international protection has been issued, and is notified to the interested party;
  4. By act or omission, the rights of other residents or staff of the centres are violated;
  5. The authorised programme or benefit period has finished.

Usually, asylum seekers are rarely expelled from reception facilities, unless they accumulate breaches to the rules of conduct of the centres, causing the necessary mandatory abandonment of the centre. In this case, the management authority will start a procedure which foresees the hearing of the subject, who can make allegations or give explanations within a 15-day period, after which a decision is taken. Legal assistance is not foreseen during this process, as this is an internal procedure.

Refugees and asylum seekers can have their reception conditions reduced in case they do not participate and collaborate in the activities scheduled for their social and labour integration. In both cases, beneficiaries sign a “social contract” where they commit to participate in these measures and accept this as a requirement to benefit from the different sources of support provided. In other cases, asylum seekers are warned in writing but there are no consequences such as reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions.

There have been reported cases of arbitrary or non-motivated sanctions and punishments in the Melilla CETI, where motivations or criteria for withdrawal of reception conditions are not clear.[1] One of these cases concerning Moroccan applicants was recognised as eligible for interim measures by the TSJ. The asylum seeker was expelled from the CETI in Melilla and left in vulnerable situation, although his appeal was still pending.[2]

Moreover, media reports have referred to at least 20 persons returned under the Dublin Regulation who were excluded from the reception system and were rendered homeless, on the basis that they had renounced their entitlement to accommodation upon leaving Spain.[3] Also during October 2018, media reported that six families of asylum seekers were excluded from the asylum system after being returned from Germany to Spain in the framework of the Dublin Regulation. The families ended up accommodated in emergency shelters of the Municipality of Madrid, generally aimed at the reception of homeless persons.[4] Following a judgment of the TSJ of Madrid in 2018,[5]the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration has issued instructions to ensure that asylum seekers returned under the Dublin Regulation are guaranteed access to reception (see Dublin: Situation of Dublin Returnees).[6]

Reception conditions are never limited due to large numbers of arrivals. Instead, emergency measures are taken and asylum seekers are provided new available places where they can be hosted (see section on Types of Accommodation).

In case of withdrawal, two main criteria are taken into consideration: (a) severity of the violation of the reception conditions’ contract signed by the asylum seeker; and (b) the individual situation and vulnerabilities of the person. If the non-fulfilment of the obligations deriving from the contract stems from a vulnerability (i.e. cases of trauma, victims of torture, etc.), the asylum seeker is referred to specific assistance facilities instead of withdrawal of conditions.

 


[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]  TSJ Madrid, Decision 368/2010, 31 March 2010.

[3] El Diario, ‘Una veintena de solicitantes de asilo denuncia ante el Ministerio de Empleo su exclusión del sistema de acogida’, 16 May 2018, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2IoFh7Z.

[4]El Diario, ‘Varias familias de refugiados duermen hacinadas desde hace meses en un centro de emergencias del Ayuntamiento de Madrid’, 31 October 2018, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2Dg44Iw.

[5] Tribuanl Superior de Justicia de Madrid, Decision 966/2018, 7 December 2018, available in Spanish at: https://cutt.ly/3tQNAxN.

[6] Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security, Instrucción DGIAH 2018/12/19 por la que se modifica el manual de gestión del sistema de acogida para solicitantes y beneficiarios de protección internacional en lo relativo al reingreso en el sistema de acogida de personas devueltas a España en aplicación del Reglamento Dublín, 20 December 2018, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2GA9QGy.

 

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