Spain hosted over 160,000 Ukrainian refugees in 2022

by Lorraine Williamson
Ukrainian refugees Spain

Spain accommodated more than 160,000 Ukrainian refugees during the more than 10 months since the start of the war. The Spanish Interior Ministry announced this on Thursday. 

The department headed by Fernando Grande-Marlaska said that from 10 March to 28 December, the Interior Ministry’s Office for Asylum and Refugees (OAR) and the National Police processed and granted protection to Ukrainian refugees in Spain a total of 160,756 times. 

This number puts Spain among the European countries that have provided the most protection to citizens and residents of Ukraine. This is possible thanks to the mechanism urgently introduced by the Spanish government on 10 March. In doing so, Spain complied with the European Union agreement, which for the first time in history authorised the application of the Temporary Protection Directive. 

Quick and easy temporary protection possible 

The mechanism initiated by the Interior Ministry’s Asylum and Refugee Office (OAR) allows for quick and easy temporary protection within a maximum of 24 hours of the application. The procedure starts at national police stations across the country and at recognised reception centres. There, national police officers, supported by interpreters, are responsible for taking identification data from Ukrainian citizens. This request is then processed by the OAR of the Ministry of Interior and dealt with within a maximum of 24 hours. 

Residence permit and driving licence 

All temporary protection requires a residence permit and, for adults, a work permit. In addition, under the provisions of the Directorate-General for Traffic, refugees granted temporary protection can legally use their driving licence in Spain for at least one year. 

Numbers by gender and age 

Women represent 63.47% (102,034) of refugees granted this temporary protection, and 36.53% are men (58,722). By age group;

  • 33.69% are under 18 years old
  • 25.33% are between 19 and 35 years old
  • 34.17% between 36 and 64 years old
  • 6.8% are over 65 years old. 

Furthermore, most of those granted temporary protection, 98.31%, are citizens of Ukrainian nationality, while the remaining 1.69% are citizens of other nationalities who were legally residing on Ukrainian territory when the war broke out. 

Autonomous regions with most refugees 

The region of Valencia (42,739), Catalonia (36,641), the Community of Madrid (22,963) and Andalucia (22,939) are the autonomous regions that processed and granted the most temporary protection. 

Also read: Refugees repopulate small villages in Catalonia


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