The heads of the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) in Malaga. Salvador Salas
Malaga is the second-placed province in Spain in terms of asylum seeker numbers

Malaga is the second-placed province in Spain in terms of asylum seeker numbers

The province handled 10,517 applications for international protection last year, almost three times the figure for 2022

Cristina Vallejo


Wednesday, 19 June 2024, 12:25

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Malaga was the second-placed Spanish province after Madrid with the highest number of applications for asylum last year.

The province received 10,517 applications for international protection, which is almost three times the figure for 2022, when asylum requests were limited to 3,418, which placed Malaga as the sixth Spanish province, according to data provided by Fany Barrabino, head of legal services for eastern Andalucía of the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR).

In Spain, the 163,000 applications - 37% more than in 2022 - is a record. Andalucía is also the region receiving the second highest number in the country of people in need of protection for political reasons, for fear of being persecuted or victims of human rights violations, with more than 25,000 - also more than double the number of a year earlier.

Underlying these figures are various conflicts in the world, such as the war in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as the never-ending socio-political crisis in Senegal. The Canary Islands are seeing record numbers of West African asylum seekers, mostly fleeing conflict in Somalia. The return of the Taliban has also caused an upturn of asylum seekers from Afghanistan.

Women and children

CEAR also detected there has been a significant increase in the number of asylum applications submitted by women claiming gender-based persecution, and also by children.

So far in 2024, Spain continues to be the third European country with the most amount of asylum applications, with more than 73,100; Andalucía is the second region, with just over 11,000; and Malaga falls to third place in the provincial ranking, with 3,632, after Madrid and Barcelona.

However, although Spain is one of the countries that processes the most asylum applications, with Venezuela and Colombia as the main countries of origin, it is the last EU country in terms of recognition of protection: only 12% of the 88,042 people whose applications were resolved were granted international protection, a lower percentage than the previous year and far below the 42% EU average.

Record number of displaced people worldwide

Carmen Rueda, CEAR's coordinator of intervention, policies and campaigns in eastern Andalucía pointed out there are 120 million displaced people worldwide in 2024, a record. Some 43 million are refugees who have had to leave their countries, while another 63 million are internally displaced and have not had the chance to flee their borders.

Rueda said most people seek refuge in their neighbouring countries, which are often impoverished states where their citizens are also victims of human rights violations. So those who arrive in Europe, Spain and then Malaga are a small sample of those who suffer so much they have to leave their villages, cities or countries of origin. Rueda also pointed out people were being displaced due to the changing climate.

In CEAR's presentation of its latest annual report, the organisation pointed out challenges asylum seekers face when entering Spain such as the difficulties in obtaining an asylum appointment, registering or opening a bank account, access to housing, employment, health or education.

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