Types of accommodation


Country Report: Types of accommodation Last updated: 30/05/24


As mentioned in Criteria and Restrictions to Access Reception Conditions, the Spanish reception system is designed in three phases. Types of accommodation vary in the EYD phase and the “first phase”, while during the “second phase” persons are no longer accommodated in the reception system.

As already mentioned, shortcomings in the reception system are chronical and have been registered by various sources in recent years. The same problems persisted in 2023. The 2022 Annual Report of the Spanish Ombudsperson denounced that many asylum seekers are obliged to live on the streets or in precarious conditions due to the challenges of the reception system as well as of the asylum procedure.[1]

As a response to the issue of overcrowding, as mentioned, EUAA started supporting Spain in the reform of its asylum reception system, including by increasing the number of reception places in the Canary Islands.[2] Aiming at assessing and investigating the provision of material reception conditions, the EUAA launched the Assessment of Reception Conditions (ARC) tool. Spain was one of the Member States who started testing the tool in 2021.[3]

In addition, already in early 2020 the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration started to negotiate with a private company (Sociedad de Gestión de Activos procedentes de la Restructuración Bancaria – Sareb) the possibility of using empty apartments for the reception of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.[4]

As previously mentioned, in the 2022 Annual Report the Spanish Ombudsperson called for additional resources to be allocated for the asylum reception system, and underlined that in many occasions asylum seekers are temporarily accommodated in emergency shelters and other kind of emergency accommodation (i.e. hotel) while waiting to be referred to a place within the asylum reception system[5].

In August 2022, the Mayor of Madrid denounced that 318 asylum seekers were still accommodated in municipal temporary shelters instead of being referred to the asylum reception system. Thus, he called the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration to assume his responsibility and to respect his compromise to refer them to the asylum facilities, also considering that the municipal resources are overcrowded.[6]

Despite the increase in reception capacity, various asylum seekers were still left homeless in 2023 and at the beginning of 2024, also due to the mentioned problems in accessing asylum procedure and appointments to register asylum applications.

In February 2024, almost 140 persons arrived to Huesca (Aragón) from the Canary Islands denounced the risk to sleep on the streets.[7]

To improve the asylum reception system, the Government established it would allocate a total of EUR 190 million between 2021 and 2023 within the Recovery and Resilience Plan.[8] In October 2022, the Government announced that EUR 215 million of the Plan would be used to build 17 reception facilities for migrants and asylum seekers, with a capacity of 6,100 places.[9] In 2022, the Government announced the creation of 17 new reception facilities for migrants, 7 out of them located in the Canary Islands This will allow the reception system to increase with 5,700 additional places.[10]

During 2023 the construction of such facilities in different cities was announced and/or started (i.e. in Mérida, Alicante, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Valladolid, Lleida, Lugo, and Soria).[11] Following the municipal and regional elections, the right and right-wing parties which won in some cities and Autonomous Communities started to oppose the construction of new reception centres in their territories.[12] Similarly, the Popular Party (Partido Popular – PP) opposed the construction of a reception centre for asylum seekers in Logroño (La Rioja), by highlighting that they rather counted on other measures to offer competent and adequate protection to refugees.[13]

The increase in arrivals registered in 2023 led the Government to declare a status of ‘migration emergency’ in October, which determined to maintain different kinds of emergency shelters open, despite the intention was to close all of them by the end of 2023.[14] In addition, the MISSM had to adopt different measures and plans to face such increase in arrivals, especially to the Canary Islands (i.e. by shortening the maximum length period of stay at the reception places within the humanitarian assistance program; by foreseeing to extend the stay for vulnerable migrants; by the allocation of more economic resources for creating new reception places within the humanitarian assistance program; by the creation of new reception places; etc.).[15] In January 2024, the declaration of the migration emergency was extended, and the Council of Ministers approved an allocation of 60.6 million Euros. Before this new declaration and since October 2023, a total of 10,000 new reception places within both the asylum and the humanitarian assistance programs, and a total of almost 100 million Euros have been employed to face such a situation.[16] An additional allocation of funds to assist newcomers has been approved in March by the Council of Ministers, for a total of 286 million Euros since the migration emergency was declared.[17]

In January 2024, the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration announced the creation of new reception places for asylum seekers and migrants, also with specific places for persons with disabilities, and strengthening those responding to the specific needs of LGTBI+ asylum seekers and victims of gender-based violence.[18]


Assessment and referral (EYD) phase

In 2018, the rise in asylum claims resulted in applicants having up to 4 months in some cases hosted in hotels instead of asylum accommodation. No information is available on 2023 apart from what has been mentioned under Access and forms of reception conditions, as well as in the previous paragraphs and under Access to the asylum procedure.


Reception phase

Accommodation during the reception phase can take place in:

  • Refugee Reception Centres (Centros de acogida de refugiados, CAR) managed by DGSAPIT;
  • Reception facilities managed by NGOs, subcontracted by DGSAPIT.

The typologies of reception places vary depending on the institution or entity that manages the centre. The reception system relies on places within big reception centres and apartments, but some reception places are in urban neighbourhoods while other are located in rural areas. The different types of available accommodation also differ from the point of view of provided services and spaces.

The Ministry directly manages the Refugee Reception Centres (CAR), part of the first phase reception centres for asylum seekers. There is a total of 4 CAR on the Spanish territory, with a total capacity of 425 reception places.[19]

There are two Migrant Temporary Stay Centres (CETI) in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. This type of centre hosts any migrant or asylum seeker that enters the Spanish territory undocumented, either by land or by sea and arrives in the Ceuta and Melilla enclaves.

Every third country national who enters irregularly the Spanish territory through the two cities is placed in one of the two centres before being moved to the peninsular territory as an asylum seeker or an economic migrant. The capacity of the CETI is 512 places in Ceuta and 782 in Melilla, including places in tents in the latter. Overcrowding in such facilities and the poor living conditions has been a persisting problem in Spain, as explained in Arrivals in the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and below under Conditions in CETI.[20]

Moreover, reception places for asylum seekers are available inside the reception centres and private apartments managed by NGOs, funded by the Ministry. At the beginning of 2023, the reception system counted 24 organisations, as listed above.

The process of assigning reception places takes into consideration the availability of places and the profile of the asylum seekers, giving special attention to vulnerable persons.





[1] Defensor del Pueblo, Informe anual 2022 – Volumen I’, March 2023, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/3LCx9jQ, 54.

[2] EASO, ‘EASO Executive Director welcomes Spain’s commitment to reform reception system’, 17 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3rcxopU.

[3] EUAA, Asylum Report 2022, June 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/42RbMkK, 165.

[4] El Diario, ‘El Gobierno negociará con la Sareb la cesión de pisos vacíos para acoger a solicitantes de asilo sin techo’, 27 February 2020, available in Spanish at: https://cutt.ly/fteg8m1.

[5] Defensor del Pueblo, ‘Informe anual 2021 y debates en las Cortes Generales Volumen l. Informe’, March 2022, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/3K3IPte, 158.

[6] The Objective, ‘Los centros de acogida en Madrid siguen colapsados pese al compromiso de Escrivá’, 10 August 2022, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/3QxFIMj.

[7] Aragón Noticias, ‘Los inmigrantes llegados a Huesca y Sabiñánigo denuncian que el sistema de acogida está colapsado’, 3 February 2024, available at: https://tinyurl.com/3k52tn7s.

[8] Europa Press, ‘El Gobierno prevé invertir 190 millones hasta 2023 en la mejora del sistema de acogida a refugiados’, 5 May 2021, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/bdhvcb2x.

[9]  Gaceta, ‘El Gobierno gastará 215 millones del Plan de Recuperación en construir 17 centros de acogida de inmigrantes’, 14 October 2022, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/yf8ncb9m.

[10] El Diario, ‘Los Presupuestos de 2023 prevén la creación de 17 centros de acogida para migrantes, siete en Canarias’, 10 October 2022, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/3TG4xIy.

[11] Onda Cero, ‘El Ayuntamiento ha recibido la solicitud de licencia para la creación del Centro de Acogida de Protección Internacional’, 18 July 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/3v35huv3; Alicante Plaza, ‘El Gobierno rehabilitará la antigua base militar de Aitana para que sea centro de acogida de refugiados’, 11 July 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/3bsha3s8; Europa Press, ‘El Gobierno central adjudica las obras del centro de acogida internacional de refugiados en Vitoria-Gasteiz’, 6 July 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/nhcnrkb5; La Revista de la Seguridad Social, ‘El ministro Escrivá anuncia la construcción de un nuevo centro de refugiados en Tàrrega’, 31 March 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/2v9dcnxf; Europa Press, ‘Inclusión abrirá un centro de acogida de refugiados en Castro de Rei (Lugo) para 250 personas’, 3 April 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/4s7pf687; El Diario, ‘Los Gobierno central y vasco acercan posturas y apelan a la “cogobernanza” sobre el centro refugiados en Vitoria’, 27 February 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/3xjwxbha; Cadena Ser, ‘El ministro de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones José Luis Escrivá apoya en Soria a Carlos Martínez’, 19 May 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/57djny8n; Diario de Valladolid, ‘El Gobierno frena el centro de refugiados de Valladolid por la negativa municipal a ceder el suelo’, 14 January 2024, available at: https://tinyurl.com/mrx49h65

[12] The Objective, ‘El Gobierno teme que PP y Vox frenen centros de refugiados previstos en varios municipios’, 4 August 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/48z2p62r; El Diario, ‘El consejero de Empleo de Vox se opone a la construcción de un centro de refugiados en Valladolid porque “degrada los barrios”’, 16 May 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/bdhyrdyf.

[13] La Vanguardia, ‘El PP rechaza un Centro de Acogida de Refugiados y afirma que cuenta con otras fórmulas de atención “competentes”’, 7 September 2023, available in Spanish at: https://tinyurl.com/yx5esfu6.

[14] Canarias 7, ‘El repunte migratorio obliga a Madrid a dejar abiertos centros que quería cerrar’, 21 June 2023, available at: https://tinyurl.com/mr258937.

[15] Information provided by Accem in February 2024.

[16] Europa Press, ‘El Gobierno destina 60,6 millones de euros para ampliar la declaración de emergencia migratoria’, 20 February 2024, available at: https://tinyurl.com/3efwt6z4.

[17] Diario de Canarias, ‘El Gobierno destina 116,4 millones de euros más para afrontar la llegada de migrantes’, 26 March 2024, available at: https://tinyurl.com/5dpkcu58.

[18] La Gaceta, ‘El Gobierno anuncia la creación de más centros de acogida para inmigrantes ilegales’, 31 January 2024, available at: https://tinyurl.com/bd29v33n; 20 minutos, ‘La ministra Elma Saiz anuncia “más plazas de acogida” a migrantes y una especial atención a “víctimas de violencia de género”’, 31 January 2024, available at: https://tinyurl.com/kzske82k; 20 minutos, ‘Los centros de solicitantes de asilo tendrán plazas reservadas para personas con discapacidad’, 1 February 2024, available at: https://tinyurl.com/m68yt6e3.   

[19] Boletín Oficial del estado, Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones, ‘Resolución de 8 de noviembre de 2022, de la Dirección General de Gestión del Sistema de Acogida de Protección Internacional y Temporal, por la que se establece la planificación extraordinaria de prestaciones, actuaciones o servicios del sistema de acogida en materia de protección internacional para atender mediante acción concertada las necesidades derivadas del desplazamiento de personas como consecuencia de la guerra en Ucrania’, 11 November 2022, available at: https://tinyurl.com/2xasxn2z.

[20] Melillahoy, ‘El CETI acoge a 900 personas tras el traslado de 90 migrantes a Melilla’, 12 June 2018, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2FybXu5; Europapress, ‘El CETI de Ceuta acoge a 878 extranjeros tras la salida de cien hacia la Península’, 30 August 2018, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2FzOY1G.

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