New Scots: refugee integration strategy 2018 to 2022

The New Scots refugee integration strategy sets out an approach to support the vision of a welcoming Scotland.


Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities

Angela Constance MSP,
Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities

We often take for granted the many good things about living in Scotland. We know we have further progress to make, but thankfully we do not face the widespread persecution, often state sanctioned, which exists in some parts of the world.

Some people are forced to escape war and other forms of indiscriminate violence. Others are persecuted because of things we take for granted, such as: having a political opinion; attending a place of worship; or belonging to a social group. People can also be at risk because of their identity: as a woman; part of the LGBTI community; or because of their ethnicity. For all refugees, leaving home is not a choice but a necessity.

I am proud that Scotland has become home to people from all over the world seeking safety. Scottish Ministers have always been clear that people who seek asylum in Scotland should be welcomed and supported to integrate into our communities from day one. When refugees and asylum seekers arrive, they need understanding, support and hope for their future; and children should be able to be children, whether they arrive with their family or on their own.

This is Scotland's second New Scots refugee integration strategy. New Scots recognises that refugees and asylum seekers face challenges which can limit their inclusion in our society, but it also recognises that refugees bring strength, knowledge and skills. They are assets to our communities and, as they rebuild their lives here, they help to make Scotland stronger, more compassionate and more successful as a nation.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this strategy, through engagement or participation in New Scots groups, as well as all the people across Scotland who work to support refugees and achieve the New Scots vision.

Dr Alison Strang, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University

Dr Alison Strang,
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University

Chair of the New Scots Core Group

It is a pleasure and a privilege to be welcoming the launch of the second New Scots refugee integration strategy 2018 – 2022. The new strategy builds on strong commitment to growing diverse and integrated communities in Scotland. It continues to take a holistic approach to addressing the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, recognising that integration begins from the first day someone arrives in our country.

Implementation of the first New Scots strategy 2014 – 2017 has been instrumental in forging relationships across different sectors around the needs of refugees and asylum seekers and the Scottish communities in which they live. The wide mix of statutory and third sector stakeholders and representatives from refugee community organisations, involved in the implementation groups, shared knowledge and expertise, informed by research and practice in Scotland. The strategy crossed divides between different sectors and helped break down barriers by taking a holistic approach; based on the distinct aspects of integration identified in the 'Indicators of Integration' framework: Employment, Housing, Health, Education, Social connections ('bonds', 'bridges' and 'links'), Language and cultural knowledge, Safety and stability and Rights. [1]

This new strategy builds on these shared understandings, achievements and relationships of trust. I am delighted that it has been even more ambitious, both in the reach of the engagement process and in the core outcomes set. With on-going commitment from communities, practitioners and policy makers, it offers the way forward to an increasingly diverse, thriving and cohesive Scotland.

Councillor Kelly Parry, Spokesperson for COSLA Community and Wellbeing Board

Councillor Kelly Parry,
Spokesperson for COSLA Community and Wellbeing Board

Over the past few years COSLA has been delighted to work with the Scottish Government, Scottish Refugee Council and other partners to deliver the first New Scots refugee integration strategy, which has been rightly recognised as supporting Scotland's positive and proactive investment in refugee integration. It has brought about a new way of working for many, and has also provided a framework for many Scottish local authorities as they have welcomed refugees into their communities for the first time.

Since the first strategy was published, the global context has changed in ways we could not have expected. During this time, Scottish local authorities have been playing a central role in resettling refugees through both the Syrian Resettlement Programme and the Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Scheme. We have seen 31 local authorities in Scotland welcoming refugees to Scotland and their local areas, while all councils have committed to continue supporting resettlement, despite our initial resettlement target having been reached.

Though there are many positive outcomes and initiatives from the initial strategy, there is still progress to be made. I am pleased that COSLA has been able to work with a wide range of partners to develop a second strategy, which builds on the work done to date. I am also delighted that so many asylum seekers and refugees have engaged with this process, and it is vital that we ensure that their voices continue to play a central role in developing and informing the work that we do going forward.

Local authorities across Scotland are committed to supporting refugees and asylum seekers to build a new life. I'm pleased to say COSLA and local government will continue to be at the heart of taking this important work forward.

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council

Sabir Zazai,
Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council

As Scotland's national refugee charity, we are delighted to have worked with the Scottish Government, COSLA and the many public, voluntary and community organisations to co‑produce Scotland's national refugee integration strategy.

This new strategy provides an important platform for all of us in Scotland to work together to welcome and unlock the assets that refugees bring with them to their new homes across Scotland.

Refugee empowerment and engagement with communities are at the heart of all our work, so we were delighted to support the wide-scale consultation with communities and refugees across Scotland. Their views are central to the direction and content of this strategy.

It is essential that all refugees arriving here, whether through the asylum process or resettled to Scotland, are treated with the same positive welcome, are able to understand and access their rights, and can thrive in their new homes. Statutory, third sector and community organisations all have a crucial role to play in making this happen.

Scottish Refugee Council is strongly committed to implementation of New Scots and to share our expertise of the last three decades with communities, as they provide a warm welcome and a new life to those who are seeking our protection.


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