Throughout the last six years, the number of asylum applications in Spain rose by almost 20 times: this represented a sharp increase which is larger than in any other EU Member State, and which found the Spanish asylum and reception system substantially unprepared. EU funding such as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) can play an important role in supporting the improvement of Spanish asylum system, and enhance its compliance with the EU asylum acquis.

In this policy note, ECRE, in cooperation with Fundación Cepaim and Profundo research presents its updated recommendations for the preparation of the AMIF national programme for Spain, focusing on the AMIF objective to “Strengthen and develop all aspects of the Common European Asylum System”. It builds on evidence from the 2021 AIDA report on Spain, Profundo’s report Guaranteeing the right to asylum – How to spend AMIF and IBMF funding in Spain during 2021-2027, the preliminary strategic framework for the national programme published in May 2021, recommendations from civil society gathered in April 2021 and by the Spanish Forum for the social integration of migrants.

In order to fix some of the system’s shortcomings, ECRE proposes to use the funding to prepare frontline institutions for adequate support and orientation of potential asylum seekers and remove existing obstacles to registrations of asylum claims. This can be achieved by investing in infrastructures and human resources. Further, we recommend to work towards the quality improvement of asylum interviews through a gradual decentralisation of the asylum office, quality trainings to police personnel and better quality in interpretation services.

The expansion of the current reception system is also very urgent: reception places should grow of about three times, maintaining the cooperation in management between civil society and the public administration, and focusing on specialised places for the reception of applicants presenting special needs or vulnerabilities. Last, a general improvement of reception standards is needed: this should address in particular the most precarious facilities, specifically in the Canary Islands and in the African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

Read Policy Note in Spanish