UNTIL recently, a Yemeni refugee could buy a plane ticket to a third party country and have a stopover in Spain in order to request asylum at the border.
From the start of the new year however, that is no longer the case.
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From January 1, the Spanish government now requires a transit visa for citizens fleeing the war torn country who want to apply for asylum at Spanish airports.
The Yemeni Civil War which has been ongoing since 2015 has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (Acled) – with millions more being displaced.
In order to claim refugee status with the UN, a person must be in a state that is not their country of origin.
What this new law means then is that Yemeni refugees need to have applied for a visa even if they do not wish to stay in Spain and are simply using it as a stopover, making their journey that much harder.
Spain has become only the second country in the European Union to introduce such a law – second only to the Czech Republic, a country that has very strict immigration laws.
This is not the first time the Spanish government has made a similar decision.
In 2018, Spain demanded a transit visa for Palestinian refugees, which decreased the number of asylum applications.