Friday, March 24

Interior finalizes a “quick and simple” mechanism to give papers to refugees from the Russian invasion

The European Union has approved this Thursday, for the first time in history, the directive that guarantees temporary residence and work permits to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. This is an unprecedented reception route, different from international protection, which is why the Spanish Government is preparing to put into practice the agreement reached by the 27. The Ministry of the Interior is finalizing a “rapid and simple” to grant residency to people who have escaped the Russian invasion, as confirmed to by a spokesman for Fernándo Grande-Marlaska’s portfolio.

The approval of the application of the temporary protection directive, whose agreement will be published this Friday, aims to ensure residence and work permits for those fleeing the war in Ukraine, as well as their access to housing, education and health. This community regulation was conceived to grant immediate protection to people who need it in the face of a significant migratory flow and to avoid overwhelming the asylum systems of the Member States, for this reason it is important that countries of destination promote a system to document exiles, without having to resort to the usual procedures for asylum seekers.

The system in which the Interior has been working “since last week” consists of the processing of the documents of the Ukrainian refugees in an express way, without the need for a prior interview, but only a “documentary and review filter” will be required with the objective of ruling out the existence of a criminal record, given that temporary protection is not contemplated in the event of having committed serious crimes. Interior sources insist that it will be an “agile” procedure, so this initial procedure that will allow Ukrainians to be documented in Spain, as well as long-term residents in the Eastern country, can be carried out at the police station.

The processing of temporary residence in this way does not exempt newcomers from requesting international protection, the study of which usually lasts for months and even years, and its granting entails a long-term authorization.

Royal Decree 1325/2003, by which the European temporary protection directive activated as of this Friday was transposed into Spain, “establishes the bases of the procedure to be followed in the event of a massive influx of displaced persons as a result of a conflict or serious disturbance of a political, ethnic or religious nature, a significant number of people approach Spanish borders or enter Spanish territory” and “the provisions of asylum legislation are insufficient”.

According to the regulations, once the displaced have been documented -in this case through the fast track prepared by the Interior-, the Asylum and Refuge Office and the General Immigration and Documentation Police Station, in cooperation with the General Directorate of Civil Protection and the public and private institutions that they deem pertinent, will have to register those affected and will carry out “an evaluation of the situation of the group based on personal circumstances.”

Through the completion of these reports, the already saturated Asylum Office will have the function of determining the “needs” of protection of people displaced by the Ukrainian conflict. Aware of the cap on pending asylum applications in said body, the Interior assures that “it will reinforce the Ukraine section” with more National Police personnel in those points where there is a “greater influx” of refugees from Ukraine, as well as with the increase in hiring more Ukrainian translators.

Looking for shelter in a collapsed system

Those exiled from the Ukrainian conflict who arrive in Spain and do not have sufficient resources will be able to benefit from social and health services. Although the Temporary Protection directive was conceived to grant immediate protection to people who need it and to avoid overwhelming the asylum systems of the Member States, the reception of those who do not have sufficient resources will depend on the collapsed state reception system , as confirmed by sources from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.

In order to prepare for the arrival of displaced people from Ukraine, the State Secretariat for Migration has confirmed the “opening of emergency places to deal with this crisis”. According to a spokeswoman, these reception spaces for Ukrainians and residents in the country “are not yet needed” because “a flow that requires reception support has not yet arrived in Spain.” Currently, the institution has 500 places prepared, which may “increase” depending on the needs, according to the same source.

Although the first exiles – who left the country after the start of the Russian invasion – have already arrived in Spain, they have not expressed any need for shelter at the moment because they have family networks, according to Inclusion. Spain is one of the countries with the largest Ukrainian immigrant population, with more than 100,000 residents of that nationality, according to the INE. “We are still in a first phase, in which the main vector is the diaspora, with their family and social networks to which they are turning, but have the absolute certainty that the Government of Spain works together to live up to what q is required of us at a time that is still very early, but in which we work with the utmost foresight and responsibility”, defends the Secretary of State for Migration.