Asylum applications in Spain 2023; Here are the numbers

by Lorraine Williamson
asylum in Spain

More than 163,000 people applied for asylum in Spain in 2023. An increase of 37% compared to 2022. The number of women applying for asylum is increasing. However, according to the latest report by the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR), 12% fewer people were granted asylum. 

The majority of migrants have come by air and come from Latin America. Moreover, Venezuela (60,534), Colombia (53,564) and Peru (14,308) account for almost 79% of the total number of applications. This is followed in the top ten nationalities by Honduras, Cuba, Morocco, Nicaragua, Senegal, Russia and El Salvador. These data confirm that most asylum seekers arrive by air.  

Migration via Canary Islands 

However, the number of migrants arriving in the Canary Islands by sea “has also increased significantly. This can be seen in Senegal’s massive rise as one of its most important countries of origin. The reason is the serious socio-political crisis that the African country is experiencing,” the report shows. 

More and more female asylum seekers 

According to CEAR data, 53% of asylum applications were submitted by men. However, the number of women is increasing, reaching 47% last year. An increase of 22,593 more than the previous year.  

“All this despite the enormous and serious obstacles that people face in accessing the asylum procedure: the difficulties in obtaining appointments to express their will and formalise asylum applications are becoming chronic, leaving thousands of people in a legal no-man’s-land for months, in violation of the European Procedures Directive,” the organisation notes. 

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

In addition, 19% of the total number of applications were submitted by minors accompanied by their families. 

The number of requests at Barajas Airport is increasing 

Most petitions were filed in Spain and only 3% were submitted at border posts, foreign internment centres (CIE) or through family extensions in Spanish embassies and consulates. 

Specifically, 3,386 people applied for asylum at border posts, 25% more than the year before. This represents ‘a minimal proportion of the total number of applications’. This increase reflects the crisis situation. But also the lack of human and technical resources in the asylum rooms of Madrid-Barajas airport.  

A situation that “has led to delays in the formalisation of asylum applications and a serious situation of overcrowding that violates the fundamental rights and dignity of refugees from Somalia, Senegal, Venezuela, Colombia and Morocco, among others,” denounces the report. 

Asylum applications by autonomous community 

By autonomous community, the number of asylum applications was as follows: Madrid 52,684, Andalucia 25,948, Catalonia 14,775, Canary Islands 8,621 and Galicia 8,438. This is followed by Valencian Community 8,041, Castilla y León 7,357, Aragon 6,438, Basque Country 6,153, Castilla La Mancha 5,787, Murcia 3,127, Asturias 2,437, Cantabria 2,384, Navarre 2,171. Extremadura 1,782, Balearic Islands 1,610, Melilla 1,382, Ceuta 1,285 and La Rioja 794.

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