Spain’s Asylum Office Processed Record 163,218 International Protection Applications in 2023

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In 2023, Spain’s Office of Asylum and Residency (OAR) successfully resolved 92,963 cases, including 1,022 statuses of stateless persons and over 33,900 temporary protection granted to individuals displaced by the Russian occupation of Ukraine.

In the same year, the Interior Ministry’s OAR received a record 163,218 applications for international protection, marking a 37 per cent increase from the previous year and the highest number since the office was established in 1992, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

According to provisional data from as of December 31, Spain now stands as the third highest recipient of applications for international protection within the European Union.

Breaking down the numbers by nationality, Venezuela tops the list with 60,534 applications, constituting 37 per cent of the total, followed by Colombia with 53,564 and Peru with 14,306. These three countries account for 78.6 per cent of all applications processed.

Madrid Leads in International Protection Applications With 52,684

Data provided by OAR also show that last year, the Community of Madrid led in international protection applications with 52,684 submissions, followed by Andalusia (25,948) and Catalonia (14,775). The Ministry of the Interior resolved 92,963 international protection files, up 1.8 per cent from the previous year.

Moreover, a record 7,521 refugee statuses were granted, constituting 26.5 per cent of OAR’s total since 2012 (28,232). The top five nationalities receiving status were Afghanistan, Syria, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Honduras. Subsidiary protection was granted to 3,850, primarily from Mali. Additionally, 41,478 citizens, mainly Venezuelans,  received one-year residence and work permits for humanitarian reasons.

The recognition rates for refugee status and subsidiary protection stood at 12.23 per cent, with an overall international protection rate of 56.85 per cent.

In 2023, 953 applications have been submitted for recognition of stateless person status and 1,022 cases have been resolved.

Spain’s Office of Asylum and Residency (OAR)

Statelessness is a process designed to identify individuals among applicants who are not recognised as nationals by any state, in alignment with its laws. These individuals declare their lack of nationality following the stipulations outlined in the Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, convened in New York on September 28, 1954.

In 2023, the OAR extended temporary protection to 33,928 individuals, bringing the total number of Spanish residents covered by this measure due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to nearly 195,000.

In this regard, Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, commended Spain’s “extraordinary effort” in international protection, surpassing 163,000 applications in 2023—the highest in the nation’s history since establishing the OAR in 1992. He also emphasized a remarkable increase of 3,500 per cent in applications compared to 2013, a decade ago.

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