Refugees and asylum seekers

Scotland 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.


We support refugees and asylum seekers by:


Asylum is a matter reserved to the UK Government and handled by the Home Office. We are responsible for devolved matters, including access to essential services like healthcare and education, that enable the integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Scottish communities.

Scotland’s New Scots approach is to support refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into our communities from day one of arrival.

A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, violence or persecution. They have had their status as a refugee recognised under the 1951 UN 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, benefits, housing and employment.

An asylum seeker is a person who has asked a government to recognise their refugee status and is waiting to hear the outcome of their application.

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

Bills and legislation

The UK is a signatory to the 1951 UN convention relating to the status of refugees and is obliged to consider properly any application for asylum made in the UK by a person who claims to be fleeing persecution.



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Scottish Government
Equality Unit
Directorate for Local Government and Communities
Asylum and Refugee Integration
Area 3H North
Victoria Quay

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