Government wants to give asylum seekers temporary work permits

Catalan social affairs minister picks up tips in Germany during visit to Patrick Henry Village refugee center in Heidelberg

Meeting of the Catalan delegates, headed by Chakir El Homrani, in Mannheim city hall (by Elisenda Rosanas)
Meeting of the Catalan delegates, headed by Chakir El Homrani, in Mannheim city hall (by Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 25, 2019 08:28 PM

The Catalan government wants to set the aim of giving asylum seekers temporary work permits after they have been in the country for nine months.

Employment and social affairs minister, Chakir El Homrani, said on Monday that it would let newcomers live independently while they are settling into their new home.

This is one of the ideas that the minister and his delegation brought back from an official visit to the Patrick Henry Village refugee center in Heidelberg, in Germany. 

The center, which used to be a US Army family residential unit, became a main base for housing and processing asylum seekers in 2015 in response to the refugee crisis.

During his visit, El Homrani met with the Baden-Württemberg state interior and migration minister, Thomas Strobl, and the center's head, Markis Rothfub.

"Full collaboration" between governments

The Catalan minister highlighted the "full collaboration" between the state and federal governments, comparing it to Catalonia's relationship with the Spanish authorities.

El Homrani added that he thinks Germany provides a good example of how to manage asylum seekers by providing an effective response to "people's needs."

At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, Germany received up to 1,400 asylum seekers a day, with the responsibility for housing them delegated to the federal states.

That is how the Patrick Henry Village became a main refugee center, with capacity for 3,500 people, although that was limited to 2000. Today, the center receives 50 people a day.

100,000 asylum applications to be resolved

Earlier this year, the Catalan Commission for Refugees (CEAR) warned that Spain has more than 100,000 asylum applications that are still waiting to be resolved.

Expressing "great disappointment" at the Spanish government's asylum policy, CEAR also said Catalonia received 8,000 applications in 2018, with more expected this year.

CEAR also pointed to the rise in the number of applications that have been refused, estimating that only one in four people were granted asylum, 14% below the EU average.