The Directorate for Immigrant Care and Support Services is responsible for providing assistance to people who require specific support due to their immigrant status and current legislation on foreign nationals.
Barcelona City Council aims to provide existing services, programmes and facilities to everyone, irrespective of their national origin. There are, however, specific issues affecting foreign nationals upon arrival that require specialised services and specific obligations.
Barcelona: A Common Project
Specialised services aim to promote the inclusion of all people of immigrant origin in Barcelona's social and community life, and are committed to encouraging all city residents - wherever they come from - to take part in a common project, and to live and get on together with a sense of belonging to the city and to Catalonia.
In addition, the city endeavours to further develop policies for living together and social cohesion, and to guarantee equal opportunities for access to public services provided by the welfare state (such as education, health and housing).
These aims are shared by many organisations and associations throughout the city that operate through a variety of networks in coordination with City Council. These organisations and associations are deeply rooted in the realities of the city’s neighbourhoods and districts, where their work is essential. This is why they also receive institutional support through specific subsidies.
Reception, social cohesion and interculturality
Therefore, this website provides information on specific resources such as SAIER (Care Service for Immigrants, Emigrants and Refugees) or the "New Families" support programme for family reunification, as well as information on general procedures, such as the resident registry procedure, how to obtain a healthcare card, and so on.
It is worth noting, however, that almost 25% of Barcelona’s residents were born abroad. Hence, the mandate of the Directorate for Immigrant Care and Support Services is to work both on reception and arrival processes as well as those involved in furthering social cohesion, equal opportunities and diversity in the long term.
In this regard, both the Directorate and City Council base their work on the principle of interculturality through the BCN Interculturality Programme,which has its own website.
Finally, emerging issues affecting the reality of refugees in Barcelona are also worth mentioning. In 2015 a new line of work under the umbrella of the Barcelona Refuge City, strategy was underway to "prepare the city to receive and assist refugees, provide them with the necessary services and guarantee their rights to such services". This work also aims to raise awareness among the population, distribute volunteers, coordinate strategies with other cities, and influence the Spanish government, as well as other European governments, to change the Spanish and European policy on refugees. For more information, see http://ciutatrefugi.barcelona/en.