EU Resettlement Network

Visit of the Spanish delegation - September 24-26 2014

Click here to download the visit programme, and follow the links in the report below to view visit presentations and materials....

On 24-26 September, in the framework of SHARE II, ICMC, the UK city of Sheffield and the NGO British Refugee Council welcomed a delegation of 11 Spanish participants to visit the local resettlement programme operating in the city since 2004. 

The delegation was drawn from the following organsiations and authorities:

  • Ministry of Employment and Social Security (MeySS) - responsible for management of reception facilities, and for grants given to NGOs to develop reception and integration programmes for refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection, including resettled refugees.  Click here to download a copy of the presentation given by MeySS.
  • Refugee Reception Centre (Alcobendas) - one of a network of 4 such centres operated by the MeySS.  The centres receive resettled refugees on their arrival into Spain, foster their ability to integrate into Spanish society and act as a mediator in the integration process. Click here to download a copy of the presentation about the centre.
  • Spanish Refugee Aid Commission (CEAR) - national Spanish NGO providing services for refugees, stateless people, and migrants seeking international protection and/or at risk of social exclusion, including reception and integration services for resettled refugees and advocacy on resettlement.  Representation from national policy/service development, and the Migration Centre managed by CEAR in Euskadi which provides temporary accommodation for new arrivals, together with legal assistance, advice on accessing healthcare, learning support, and labour orientation.  Click here to download a copy of the presentation given by the national CEAR representative (see 'municipality of Bilbao', below for the Euskadi presentation).
  • Region Of Madrid - Council Of Social Affairs (General Directorate Of Immigration) - responsible for coordinating and planning immigrant integration, including inter-agency coordination, civil society participation and managing calls for proposals for funding for integration initiatives and services.  Click here to download a copy of the presentation given by the region, and read a short article on the region's participation in the visit published on their website (in Spanish).
  • Municipality of Bilbao - representation from the municipality service responsible for delivering mainstream actions focused on promoting the integration of the immigrant population of the municipality of Bilbao.  Click here to download a copy of the presentation given by the municipality and CEAR Euskadi.
  • Municipality of Alcobendas - representation from the Department for Integration & Equal Opportunities.  Click here to download a copy of the presentation given by the municipality.
  • Municipality of Torrelavega - representation from the education service of the Social Services department.  Click here to download a copy of the presentation given by the municipality.

  • Red Cross Reception Centre at Cantabria - centre for asylum seekers who are waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, which also houses resettled refugees after they arrive into Spain.  The Red Cross offers refugees at the centre individualised support to facilitate their integration into Spanish society.  

  • Spanish Red Cross in La Rioja - including services for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and I also manage the reception centre in the city of Logroño.

Although involved in several ad-hoc resettlement programmes in the past, Spain first established a resettlement programme in cooperation with UNHCR in 2012, resettling 80 refugees - originally from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan - from Shousha refugee camp on the Libya-Tunisia border.  In late December 2012, the Spanish government approved a new resettlement quota to receive up to 30 resettled refugees during 2013-14.  In December 2013, and following the call by UNHCR for resettlement countries around the world to provide 130,000 resettlement or other admission places for Syrian refugees during 2014-16, the Spanish government allocated a further 100 places to receive Syrian refugees during 2013-14., in addition to allocating the original 30 places also to Syrians.  The 130 Syrian refugees are expected to arrive to Spain before the end of 2014, following a selection mission planned for October 2014.  The SHARE City Exchange Visit to Sheffield formed part of the planning process for Spanish actors who will be engaged in receiving and supporting Syrian refugees, and in ensuring their long-term settlement and integration.

The visit programme incorporated a half-day structured peer exchange programme with the city of Sheffield, in which participants and their city hosts discussed their respective cities and regions, their experiences of resettlement, and the challenges and opportunities for resettlement and integration presented by the contexts within which they work.  You can use the links above to download copies of the presentations given by the Spanish delegation, and can also view presentations given by Sheffield City Council, and the city's health and education service providers.

On the afternoon of Day 1, delegates visited the city premises of the British Refugee Council, shadowing staff working in the drop-in advice service for resettled refugees, and discussing the UK and Spanish approaches to providing integration support.  The Day 2 programme focused on exchange on volunteering and community development in refugee resettlement with the British Refugee Council, including a presentation and discussion with SHARE II partner the Gateway Refugee Communities Forum, an umbrella group of community associations established by refugees resettled to the city since 2004.  Click on the links to view/download  presentations on community development and volunteering given by the British Refugee Council, and the presentation from the Gateway Refugee Communities Forum.

For more information about the visit of the Spanish delegation or the SHARE City Exchange Visit Programme, please contact Rachel Westerby, Senior Policy & Programme Manager at ICMC Europe (westerby@icmc.net).