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This content now lives on our new site: refugees and asylum seekers

Refugees and asylum seekers

 A Scottish Sports Futures coaching sessionScotland has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers and recognises it is a human right to be able to seek asylum in another country.

Immigration and asylum are reserved issues and are the responsibility of the UK Government's Home Office.  The UK is a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and is obliged to consider properly any application for asylum made by a person who claims to be fleeing persecution.

Some people seeking asylum are moved to Scotland as part of the UK Government’s dispersal policy within the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

The Scottish Government is responsible for devolved issues which relate to integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Scottish communities.  This includes initiatives, such as English language classes and translation assistance, and services such as health care and education.


A refugee is a person who:

'owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country'
Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

A refugee is entitled to the same social and economic rights as any UK citizen. Refugees have full access to medical treatment, education, housing and employment.

An asylum seeker is a person who:

‘has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee.’

An asylum seeker is someone who has asked a Government for refugee status and is waiting to hear the outcome of their application.

Promotion of refugee integration

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the integration of asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland through the strategy for refugee integration[link].

The Scottish Government Equality Unit is providing £2.81m for the period 2012-15 to organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland.


Funding per year (2012-15)

Total funding (2012-15)

Scottish Refugee Council



Bridges Programme



Bridging the Gap



Greater Pollock Integration Network



Maryhill Citizens Advice Bureau



Maryhill Integration Network






More information on equality funding is available here.