Wednesday, May 18

Interior activates the system to give papers “in 24 hours” to refugees from the war in Ukraine

Refugees who arrive in Spain due to the Russian invasion will be able to process their residence and work permits starting this Thursday at the reception centers and at specific police stations in Spanish territory. After the European pact to guarantee the reception of those displaced by the war in Ukraine, the Government has activated an unprecedented system so that they can expressly process temporary protection, as announced by the Ministry of the Interior in a statement. The department led by Fernando Grande-Marlaska ensures that it will resolve requests within 24 hours.

The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, JosĂ© Luis Escrivá, have signed this Wednesday the order that develops an “agile and simple” procedure for the recognition of temporary protection , the figure activated by the member countries of the EU to ensure the immediate reception of those fleeing the Ukrainian war without saturating the state asylum systems. The guideline establishes that residence and work permits for displaced persons from Ukraine “may be requested from specific National Police stations throughout the territory as well as from authorized reception centers.”

In addition to the people who have arrived in Spain after the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukrainians who lived in the country without papers will be able to process their permits through this procedure, according to Interior.

Applicants will be able to go to “qualified points” where National Police officials “will take their identification data and other elements,” with the aim of registering them and ruling out the existence of serious criminal records. After completing the procedure, which will be assisted by interpreters, the displaced will be issued with a receipt accrediting their request for protection, which will include the assignment of a Foreign Identification Number (INE).

Interior ensures that the application will be processed by the Asylum and Refuge Office and “will be resolved within a maximum period of 24 hours.” The resolution will include residence authorization and, in the case of applicants of legal age, work authorization. The response will be notified to the applicant electronically “whenever possible, by post or by personal appearance before police stations or foreign offices.”

The speed with which the Government promises to respond to requests is unprecedented and collides with the usual expectations of applicants for an international petition or the completion of almost any immigration procedure. Just getting an appointment to formalize an asylum request or carry out a procedure such as taking fingerprints is usually such a difficult task that it has even led to a side business of buying and selling appointments. The response to requests for international protection, also processed by the Asylum and Refuge Office, usually involves a wait of up to two years.

The Ministry affirms that temporary protection may be denied, among other reasons, in the event that it is verified that the applicant, through the comparison of the data with criminal records and with international police cooperation databases, ” could pose a risk to national security. This medium has asked the Ministry for the list of activated spaces to process these permits, but for the moment it has not received a response.

The Spanish Government has decided to go beyond what is established by the European pact to guarantee the reception of refugees from the Russian invasion. The Council of Ministers agreed on Tuesday to regularize all Ukrainians who lived in Spain before the armed conflict, given that they cannot return to their country. It will also grant temporary residence and work permits to persons from third countries who were legally residing in Ukraine when the conflict broke out, regardless of the duration of their authorization.