Reception, accommodation and care


Requesting international protection is a legal process that does not confer any social benefits or any assistance upon arriving in the receiving society. Those with no resources of their own who are claiming asylum can turn to the state programme once their application has been accepted.

The programme is managed by social bodies and NGOs through a competitive call for subsidies from the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security. The programme consists of three phases of six months, divided according to the level of attention those admitted receive. The reception phase (first phase) and the integration phase (second phase) can be completed with a third phase in which the person may need temporary or sporadic help or support in certain areas.

Before the application can be processed, there is an assessment and referral phase (Phase 0) to evaluate the asylum seeker's profile and needs in order to refer them to the appropriate resources.

After six months, they will have permission to work, but they have to search for work and accommodation just like any other citizen. Given their prior situation, they become categorised as a vulnerable group and the state programme often ends before any legal decision is reached, leaving people in an uncertain and unprotected state of limbo.

Finally, those who do not receive international protection find themselves in an irregular situation.

Barcelona participates in the reception process for refugees and asylum seekers from the first day. It integrates them into neighbourhoods and the social and cultural life of the city, enables children to enter the city’s schools and gives everyone that needs it access to public health care and social services.

Later on, it continues assisting them to enter the labour market and become more independent. If, despite their wish to do so, the conditions for their return to their country of origin do not arise, they are integrated for the long term.

Cities and towns are where refugees are received and integrated, but in Spain they have no say in asylum policies and do not receive any funding to implement them. The State does not finance any local integration policies, although it does receive EU funds for this purpose. The amount set aside for 2014-2020 is over 330 million euros.

Barcelona has a long history of receiving and integrating new arrivals and providing access to local services and programmes to everyone who arrives in the city, regardless of their legal status.



Asylum data in Barcelona

  • Number of people dealt with by the SAIER related to asylum issues
  • Number of people dealt with by the SAIER by countries of origin 

Charts showing the number of refugees dealt with by the Care Service for Immigrants, Emigrants and Refugees (SAIER) from 2012 and their main countries of origin from 2014.


SAIER Click to unfold the content


Since 1989, the city has had the Service Centre For Immigrants, Emigrants And Refugees (SAIER), a free municipal service which is managed by the City Council together with specialised local bodies.

SAIER offers general services to all non-EU residents who need them, such as assistance in the legal processing of immigration papers, social care and psychological support to vulnerable people, the recognition of academic qualifications, learning Catalan, accommodation and subsistence for the most vulnerable through the municipal temporary accommodation facilities network.

It also provides support to Barcelona residents who emigrate and those returning to their country of origin.

In terms of specific support for those seeking international protection, SAIER offers legal advice and, together with the Red Cross, is the point of entry to the reception programme for people seeking international protection in the Spanish State.

It is SAIER that covers any shortfall in this programme, as it takes care of the basic needs and assistance for the most vulnerable during Phase 0, until they access the programme.

Municipal reception programme, Nausica Click to unfold the content


Refugees and those seeking international protection with no resources of their own can access the state programme. However, many are excluded for different reasons, perhaps because they have been returned to Spain through the application of the Dublin Regulation, because they belong to a certain social group, their state of health or sexual orientation make it inadvisable for them to stay in group accommodation, or maybe because their link with the city has forced them to leave the destination where they are obliged to be for the state programme.

The Nausica municipal reception programme was rolled out in 2015 in agreement with different social bodies, to attend to these people and to create a stable and permanent social care and support structure in order to improve the processes of social integration and independence.

It offers temporary accommodation services and specialised intervention for people or families who have requested or been beneficiaries of international protection and who are still in a situation of vulnerability and social exclusion.

It is a complementary programme to that of the State and has a dual purpose: on the one hand, it aims to continue the previously initiated process of being independent, and on the other, to be able to work and make a good start in the city (both to acquire or solidify the processes of becoming independent and to access the normal public services with intensive prior work).

Here you will find the document 'Informe de govern. Avaluació del programa Nausica' [Government report. Evaluation of the Nausica programme]