The Secretary of State for Migration (SEM) visited the seven centres proposed by Madrid’s local government on Sunday and has approved four of them.
Red Cross workers will join the team in helping the arrivals with their initial basic needs and setting up a programme to aid them in their quest for a new life in Spain.
The Nuestra Señora de la Paloma residence in the Madrid satellite town of Cercedilla is ready to move into, the SEM said, meaning the first 200 can be taken in straight away.
Madrid is currently working on making the Red Cross III Pavilion on the Avenida de Portugal suitable for living in, so it can house another 85 refugees.
Two disused primary schools have been signed off – the Antonio Gil Alberdi in the suburb of Moratalaz, and the Manuel Bartolomé Cossío in the central Latina neighbourhood – but the government says they will need a series of renovations first.
These will be funded by the ministry for work, migration and social security.
Another three proposed centres were not approved as they were in ‘a deteriorated state’ and could not be adapted to make them habitable.
The four agreed sites will be signed over to the SEM and the asylum seekers’ settlement will be handled entirely by the department.
Head of family, equality and social welfare for Madrid, Pepe Aniorte, says the SEM’s agreement is ‘excellent news’ since it means 635 of the original 1,350 refugees the city had planned to take in can move in within weeks.
But Aniorte says he hopes to see the government ‘taking more steps’ to allow for additional arrivals without too much delay.