The Canary Islands already offer asylum to 380 Ukrainian refugees

A volunteer helps a group of refugees at the Odessa station. / EFE

Interior estimates that half of those who have arrived in the national territory have not even started the procedures

Ingrid Ortiz-Viera

As the Russian offensive advances, the arrival of displaced Ukrainians to European territories increases and with them the requests for international protection.

In the Canary Islands, despite the fact that President Ángel Víctor Torres has recognized that there is not a large community, 380 work and residence permits have already been processed,
the majority, 253, concentrated in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where a large part of the Ukrainians are located, while in Las Palmas the figure rises to 127.

The data barely represents 1.5% of the total asylum requests at the national level, which are close to 25,000, according to the Ministry of the Interior. Among the autonomous communities that are managing the most procedures is
Madrid (5,238),
the Valencian Community (4,241) and
Catalonia (3,624), on the other hand, the main points of entry for the exodus through the reception and referral centers opened in the capital, Alicante and Barcelona.

In general terms, Spain is positioned as the fourth country with the highest presence of residents of this nationality, which leads to the interpretation that family and friends' networks will still have a higher pull effect. Hence, the State has launched an entire administrative machinery to streamline procedures and avoid possible collapses in its offices.

Approved the new refugee reception regulation that reinforces the system

The commitment reached by the Ministry is to grant authorizations within a maximum period of 24 hours and allows work and residence in the country for at least one year, extendable to three, in addition to guaranteeing reception resources, financial support and access to health and education.

This temporary protection, promoted for the first time with the support of the Council of the EU, has also been extended to Ukrainians who were already in Spain irregularly and to foreigners from third countries who were legally residing in Ukraine when the war broke out.

However, the figures handled by the Government do not reveal the real dimension of the displacements. The Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated in a statement to El Periódico de España that "quantifying them is extremely complicated."

According to his calculations,
Around 80,000 refugees have arrived in the whole of the State since the beginning of the invasion, and only about half are documented or have an appointment to do so. In other words, 50% had not even started the reception procedures.

However, the minister has clarified that it is not known how many of these refugees will end up settling in Spain. The bulk still continues in border territories,
especially in Poland and, in any case, the current Spanish figure is minimal if it is put in the context of the almost 4 million people who have fled Ukraine.

Faced with this situation, the Canary Islands have shown solidarity with regard to the reception, also of minors, despite the pressure that the migratory crisis exerts on the islands. A position that they have asked to be applied in the rest of the State in the same way for Africans.

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