New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2024: engagement analysis report

Analysis of engagement which informed the development of Scotland’s New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2024.

Community consultation events analysis

Analysis of the community consultation events followed a broadly similar methodology to the framework engagement events. Responses were gathered from the various events and collated in an excel spreadsheet. Preliminary coding was done to extract key statements related to the provided questions and build a series of themes across each of the questions. This initial coding was further refined by the research team with similar thematic areas grouped into a more concise set of broad, overarching themes. This refinement resulted in the identification of 27 distinct overarching themes. Each theme was validated for consistency and detailed with direct participant quotes to ensure they accurately reflected community input and were directly linked to the questions posed, providing a comprehensive synthesis of local and national integration efforts. This structured approach not only highlighted current successes but has also, more importantly, pinpointed areas needing improvement and suggested further actions.

The thematic findings from both questions 1 and 2 have been merged into the 27 themes detailed below. The questions were posed, with their prompts, as detailed below:

Question 1: In your community, local authority area, region, what are organisations (local authorities, public bodies, charities, refugee and community groups) currently doing well that contribute to supporting your integration?

How could these be improved?

What further actions need to happen locally?

Question 2: Thinking about the New Scots Partnership (Scottish Government, Council of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and Scottish Refugee Council) and other national organisations – what are the positive things they are doing to support your community?

How could these be built on?

What further actions are needed at a national level?

Thematic findings from questions 1 and 2


The comments reveal a significant desire for increased and better-targeted funding to support refugee activities and integration services. Participants specifically mentioned the lack of accessible funding for volunteers and small community organisations which directly impacted their ability to conduct meaningful events and support vulnerable individuals. There was also frustration about the distribution of funds, suggesting that more resources should be allocated to grassroots initiatives rather than predominantly to larger institutions. A recurring suggestion was for longer-term funding commitments that provide stability to programs aiding refugees, particularly in education and community development.

Participants also raised a perceived inequity, with rural areas often underfunded compared to urban counterparts. Suggestions included the desire for a more equitable distribution system that can enhance service provision in under-supported regions, potentially improving outcomes for refugees and people seeking asylum across diverse geographic locations.

"Funding should be sufficient for activities that support the integration and mental health of refugees."

"There is still less funding for the activities that support refugee and asylum seeker issues."

"The New Scots strategy is great but needs to come with some source of funding support for community organisations like ours."

“Charities are the main source of support for a lot of people, but don't get any money from the Scottish Government.”

“One concern about the New Scots Refugee Strategy is the need for more information about how the plan will go to resources. For us, a Strategy with funding attached to it is a good use of time, and we would like to ask the Scottish Government to announce how it will resource the strategy and how frontline service providers will be supported to implement the new plan.”

“Some parts of Glasgow City get better support on that point than other [areas in Scotland] which makes it unequal.

Agency and representation

Participants expressed a desire for greater involvement in decision-making processes affecting their lives. They advocated for direct participation in the design and implementation of integration strategies, which they believe should be informed by those who live the experience. Many participants suggest that New Scots should be involved at all levels of governance and planning, ensuring that policies are not only inclusive but also effectively address the real needs of the refugee populations.

There was an awareness that loss of agency was a problem both for New Scots and for receiving communities who did not necessarily choose to have new people in their community.

"We need to be involved in the decisions about policies affecting us, not just consulted."

"It is vital that refugees themselves can contribute to the policy-making that impacts their lives."

"Having refugees in leadership roles within organisations that serve us can make a huge difference in understanding our needs."

“Ensuring inclusion of local community residents so that local skills and resources can be pooled. If local residents feel and are included in decision making stages, surely a 2-way integration process will be more successful. This could help counter the issue of resistance to change within host communities.”


Healthcare accessibility emerged as a critical issue, with many participants detailing encounters with systemic barriers to obtaining adequate care. This included a lack of mental health support, the challenge of navigating health services without sufficient language assistance, and perceived discrimination within healthcare settings. Participants stressed the importance of culturally sensitive health provision that acknowledges their specific health histories and current needs, suggesting that integration strategies include the provision of more interpreters and training for healthcare providers to better understand and respect cultural differences in health practices.

"Not every asylum seeker or refugee is lucky enough to fall in an area where good quality health services are provided with support in their language."

"Health services treat us like we are not human, they are disrespectful and they don’t trust us."

"There is a huge negative impact on asylum seekers who are unable to access mental health services due to long waiting lists."


Educational challenges were highlighted extensively, with a focus on the need for better recognition of international qualifications and more support for English language learning. Participants pointed out that children and adults alike face significant delays in school and college enrolments due to administrative hurdles. Participants suggested more comprehensive educational support that facilitates quicker integration into the school system and addresses the specific learning needs of refugee students, including additional language tuition and recognition of prior learning and qualifications. Specific topics included the right to education, access to education, language barriers, bullying in school, and the lack of culturally appropriate food in schools. There was a sense that schools are under pressure and turning away students. Participants also mentioned instances of racism within schools which need to be addressed.

"The educational opportunities should be given to New Scots in terms of apprenticeships so they can advance academically."

"I was told as an asylum seeker I can’t do a full time course but education is a human right."

“The right to education, access to education, language barriers, bullying in school, lack of halal food in schools. Schools under pressure and turning away students.”

“I was told my son can’t attend our local school as it would cause overcrowding and they would have to employ an extra teacher.”

“[We need to] ensure involvement of refugees and asylum seekers and teachers in the design of course material and resources, informed by best practice examples internationally, for all pupils in schools to help aid integration for asylum and refugee pupils.”

“The school do not provide halal food. We’ve been there for 6 months and we’ve asked many times for halal food. We just have to eat tuna every day and we’re sick of it. We have given up hoping they will provide some halal food.”

“I was told they would give me money to go and buy halal food and prepare it myself to bring to school. But the shops that sell halal food are very far away and it is so expensive.”


Employment was identified as a vital component of successful integration, yet New Scots and supporting organisations reported facing multiple obstacles in gaining meaningful employment. These included not only language barriers and unrecognised qualifications but also a lack of targeted job training programs that align with New Scots’ skills and professional backgrounds. The responses suggested a need for policies that allow easier access to work permits and job opportunities such as bridging programs that facilitate the transition into the local job market and support services that help in translating qualifications into locally recognised credentials. Many participants reported that more needs to be done to support people seeking asylum who are currently excluded from the workforce.

"Many asylum seekers are qualified, they just need training to work in their career."

"Employment opportunities should be created specifically for New Scots to encourage them to take part in training and the labour market."

“Employment and welfare – statutory restrictions on rights to work has an impact of people who are keen to work but have to meet the required immigration status. If people can’t work, this leads them to seek illegal work which puts new Scots at risk of exploitation. This also applies to those have good levels of education but do not have locally recognised qualification or work experience in the UK. Opportunities for training are very few.”

Community & integration

Integration into local communities was discussed in terms of the need for supportive environments that facilitate cultural exchanges and mutual understanding. Participants expressed a desire for more community centres, local events, and programs that encourage interaction between refugees and host communities.

"Community groups should continue to receive funding from the Scottish Government to provide skills development."

"Integration is not a one-way street; how to promote this from different angles within the community needs consideration."

“Social isolation and the desire of refugees and asylum seekers to connect to people in the communities they are settling in. This included the challenge of building friendships and social networks, particularly for people in the asylum process, people living in rural areas, women, disabled people and people in the LGBTI community.”

"Open up funding opportunities and sharing information to people in the communities."

Support (financial & legal)

The lack of comprehensive financial and legal support was a recurring theme in the responses. Participants detailed difficulties in accessing sufficient legal representation, particularly in asylum cases, and expressed a need for more financial assistance programs that address the immediate needs of newly arrived individuals. Suggestions included the establishment of more advisory services that can provide both legal and financial guidance tailored to the unique situations of New Scots as well as the provision of better guidance through asylum and residency applications.

"Help us become self-employed - who can help us, what loans / grants could we have?"

"There should be sufficient resources for legal support as many refugees struggle to navigate the complex legal system."

"Financial support should be tailored to the specific needs of refugees, taking into account their unique circumstances."

Services (access to, coordination, etc…) and lack of information

Participants reported frustration with the fragmented nature of services available to them, citing a lack of coordination among service providers and insufficient information on how to access necessary support. They called for a more integrated approach to service provision, with better communication and information sharing among agencies. This included the need for centralised information resources that can guide refugees through the complexities of services ranging from healthcare to housing and employment. The lack of information or the lack of co-ordinated information was the single largest concern, with requests for one-stop shops, joined up information at the point of arrival, and better linkages across service providers.

"There is some support we see available which is a good step in [the] right direction. Further funding to continue the support of national services."

"More funding and resources needed for organisations/councils that are supporting New Scots."

There is a need to circulate information clearly about services available for communities by increasing awareness about the support available through joint hubs/ portals and Networks between organisations. Moreover, Collaboration and coordination is crucial between local communities in each area, local councils can also be involved in the process. This can be achieved by reaching out to the new Scots or by providing them the information needed on how to contact them.”

“Home Office should proactively contact third sector services 'on call' to advocate / explain / accompany people on arrival. E.g. Contact LGBT Health and Wellbeing when someone is claiming asylum because of LGBT

Languages and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

The critical importance of language acquisition was underscored in many responses. Participants emphasised the need for expanded English language training opportunities and the provision of language services that can assist them in their daily interactions with institutions and community members. There was a particular call for language support in administrative and healthcare settings, where language barriers can significantly impact the quality of service received.

Participants also requested education in source-community languages and better support for different sections of the community such as elderly people or secondary school students.

“Diversified Language Curriculum: Introduce a more diverse and effective curriculum for teaching English, exploring different methods to enhance language learning in a short time.

“Incorporate Mother Language Studies: Provide opportunities for individuals to study and maintain proficiency in their mother languages, alongside English education.”

“Enhanced English Education: Improve the quality of English education in schools to ensure better language acquisition.”

“Cultural Understanding: Implement programs that facilitate cultural understanding, recognising the importance of language proficiency in building connections.”

“Some major languages of New Scots could be taught in schools in the same way Spanish, German and other languages are taught.”


Cultural integration was seen by participants as being key to the successful settlement of refugees. The responses suggested that more should be done to celebrate cultural diversity within communities, including through cultural festivals, events, and educational programs that foster a deeper understanding of different cultural backgrounds. Participants advocated for initiatives that encourage cultural expression and promote intercultural dialogue.

"Education in cultural differences! - This was a theme that came up throughout the meeting when speaking about instances of injustice and discrimination."

"It was proposed that a group of New Scots could be trained up to provide cultural difference training for different professions."

"Teach people about other cultures. People should learn about the cultures of New Scots"

Digital access

Digital inclusion was recognised as essential for enabling New Scots to access services, seek information, and participate fully in society. The lack of access to digital technology is seen as a barrier to education, employment, and social interaction. Suggestions include providing New Scots with the necessary technology and training to navigate digital platforms effectively.

When services move online, that does not in itself guarantee accessibility; some participants reported that it was actually harder to use forms or request support online, as there was no one there to help with translations or explanations, and the language was often bureaucratic or obscure.

"Digital access is crucial for us to keep in touch with our families and access services online."

“New Scots need to be able to access digital services. Need to train them and give them access so they can.

"We need more support in getting access to the internet and learning how to use digital tools effectively."


This was the second-most commented topic at the community consultation events. Participants raised concerns about inappropriate housing conditions, abusive landlords, long waits for housing, unfit housing, cold, damp, hotels, and unavailability of large enough houses.

Stable and appropriate housing was frequently mentioned as a foundational need for New Scots. The responses highlighted issues with the adequacy of housing provided, the accessibility of housing support, inadequate repairs and the discrimination faced by refugees in the housing market.

There was also, however, acknowledgement that local authorities have played a key role in facilitating access to essential services including housing and that this has been very positive.

"Immigrant students' families are not allowed to rent council housing (no access to public funds). I recommend that this policy be improved upon by allowing immigrants' family to have access to public funds/council housing."

"Acknowledged for their pivotal role, local authorities facilitate access to essential services such as housing, healthcare, and education. Their proactive approach in addressing specific refugee needs, from overcoming language barriers to providing legal assistance, has been instrumental in laying a strong foundation for successful integration."

“More housing is needed in Edinburgh. Some participants are also living in housing that is too small for their needs."

"Repairs to housing should be done to a better standard. Help to deal with bad neighbours is particularly needed."

“Our homes are very cold in the winter; we are only receiving Universal Credit and cannot afford to keep our homes and our children warm.”

Safety & security

Safety and security emerged as significant concerns, with participants detailing experiences of feeling unsafe and encountering hostility within their communities. They advocated for more protective measures and community policing strategies that address their specific vulnerabilities and promote a safer living environment. There were several comments around (1) fraud within communities – for example, translators representing themselves as lawyers (2) worries about dangerous neighbourhoods (3) bullying (4) coercion from landlords or housing authorities. Also, some participants reported that authorities in general and police in particular were not always perceived as a source of security or wellbeing.

"There should be improved safety measures in areas where refugees are housed to prevent incidents of violence and harassment."

"Security concerns are significant, especially for families with young children in less secure accommodations."

"We need assurance from local authorities that our safety is a priority and will be actively monitored."

“We don’t know who we can trust…I’m scared of police (hostile response at airport on arrival). I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

“there are many drug addicts living [where we are], who often behave extremely inappropriately, so the police is a frequent guest in our district. Also, I see drug addicts in the same place under the windows every day looking for apparently hidden drugs. This creates an even more unhealthy atmosphere. Also, due to the behaviour of ill-mannered teenagers and drug addicts, it is sometimes scary, because they destroy everything in their path if they don't like something, and just to have fun, too. It is not very safe to return home late if the situation calls for it.”

“On the issue of housing, what I think could be improved is the way the people who are foreigners are segregated and not being offered accommodation despite meeting all the criteria by landlords and housing.” “There is still discrimination and non-integration in Universities and colleges, there is a need of raising awareness about refugees and asylum seekers.”


Participants called for stronger anti-discrimination policies and more effective enforcement of existing laws to protect New Scots from bias and prejudicial treatment.

"Children of asylum seekers and refugees are still suffering from racism within schools."

"Discrimination is a daily reality for many of us, whether in jobs, housing, or public places."

"There needs to be more done to educate the public about refugees to reduce instances of discrimination."

"Anti-discrimination laws should be strictly enforced, and we should be informed about how to report and proceed in cases of discrimination."

“I have been called names at school because I wear hijab, the girls kept asking me to take it off. I cry when this happens. My religion is important to me.”

“Anti-Racism Education should be a priority. Conduct awareness programs for police and educational staff to address racism and biassed behaviour.”

Families and children

The specific needs of families and children were highlighted, particularly the challenges faced by New Scots in schools and the impact of resettlement on family dynamics. The importance of family reunification was stressed, along with the need for targeted support services that address the educational and emotional needs of children. The need for childcare was raised many times. Emphasis was also placed on single-parents as they faced compounded challenges and barriers.

"Support for families is crucial, especially those with children who need stable schooling and healthcare."

"Programs for children, like after-school clubs or sports, are important for their integration and development."

"There should be specific support services for single-parent families who face unique challenges."


Transport accessibility was identified as a barrier to integration, affecting New Scots’ ability to access employment, education, and services. Suggestions included subsidised transport options for New Scots and better integration of transport planning in resettlement programs. Many participants suggested the introduction of free transport for refugees and people seeking asylum, complaining that it was impossible to meet legal obligations or seek work without access to transport.

"Affordable transport is essential for us to get to work, appointments, and social engagements."

"Public transportation options are not always accessible from refugee accommodations, which isolates us."

"Subsidised transport passes for refugees would be a significant aid in our daily lives."

“Transport is what we need access to! Especially for people that have to report to the Home Office.”

Skills recognition

Participants highlighted that the non-recognition of international qualifications and skills is a significant barrier to employment for many New Scots. They expressed a need for more robust skills assessment frameworks that would recognise and utilise their professional capabilities and facilitate smoother integration into the workforce.

"My qualifications are not recognised here, which forces me into jobs that do not use my skills or education."

"There needs to be a system in place to assess and recognise the skills and qualifications of refugees quickly."

"Recognition of our skills would allow for better job placements and contribute to the economy more effectively."

“If we want Scotland to progress make the most of the Ukrainian talents sitting wasting away in hotels!!”

“So many people come with qualifications and asylum systems deteriorate knowledge, skills, experience. Is it possible to enable professional placements?”

Systems and processes

The complexity of systems and processes that New Scots must navigate was reported as a major source of stress and confusion. Some participants advocated for the simplification of administrative procedures, particularly those related to asylum applications, residency, and access to services.

"The bureaucracy is overwhelming, especially when you're new and still learning the language."

"Clearer, simplified processes for accessing services and applying for documents would greatly help."

"There should be a one-stop-shop for all our needs in the first few months, where we can get help with all the paperwork."

Green spaces, sport, and environment

The role of green spaces and sports in promoting mental and physical health was recognised. Participants appreciated the availability of such resources but called for more inclusive and accessible community sports programs and environmental initiatives that encourage participation from all community members. Several participants asked for days out, trips to explore Scotland, summer camps for kids and opportunities for women, in particular to go outside and explore green spaces. Some participants raised concerns about not being able to play outside in Scottish weather and highlighted a need for indoor play spaces. Some participants reported that the neighbourhoods where New Scots were resettled often had few parks and the parks were “rough”, with hazards such as discarded needles and exposed rubbish.

"Access to green spaces and sports facilities is important for our physical and mental health."

"Environmental initiatives that involve the community can also be a great way for us to feel part of the society."

"We appreciate the parks and recreational areas, but more organised sports activities for refugees would be beneficial."

“Access and opportunity to sport for New Scots especially professional sports has been challenging due to a cultural difference and understanding of the game football in particular.”


The work of charities was highly valued, but many participants suggested greater support and funding for these organisations. Participants felt that charities often provide critical services that are not adequately covered by government programs.

"Charities play a crucial role in providing services that the government does not cover."

"We rely heavily on charity shops for affordable necessities, and they also offer volunteering opportunities."

"Funding for charities should be increased as they are often on the front lines of support for refugees."

Faith groups

Faith groups were mentioned as important support networks for many refugees, providing not just spiritual support but also practical assistance. There was a recognition of the need to better integrate these efforts with other community support mechanisms to enhance the overall support system available to New Scots.

"Faith groups provide not just spiritual support but also practical help and a sense of community."

"Interfaith activities could help integrate the community and promote understanding."

"Support for faith-based initiatives is important as they help maintain our cultural and religious practices."


Differences in the availability and quality of services between urban and rural areas were raised, with rural New Scots reporting particular challenges in accessing support. Increased focus on improving services in rural areas was suggested to ensure equitable support across different geographies.

Participants with lived experience residing in areas outside of the big cities often remarked on the cumulative effect of the lack of services – in terms of travel, childcare, education, and employment which they felt made it more difficult for them to progress. At the same time, some participants living in Aberdeen or the Central Belt felt they were housed in undesirable neighbourhoods which were unsafe.

“I have four children, and it’s difficult for me to integrate if I cannot find a job. I have time while my children are in nursery and school, and then I can work. But to find a job with such a schedule is difficult in our small town where we live. But I really want to find a job and start a new life in Scotland.”

“Community projects in places where asylum seekers live (MIN or other charities can be far for people living outside of Glasgow)”

“Living in a small town is difficult, I want to move to Glasgow or Inverness, where there are other people who look like me. Where I live now, everyone stares at me.” (UASC)

"Living in rural areas can be isolating due to fewer services and less diversity."

"Urban areas have better services but also more competition and higher costs of living."

"Policies should consider the unique challenges and opportunities in both urban and rural settings for refugees."


The impact of trauma on New Scots’ mental health and integration was profoundly acknowledged in the feedback received. Many participants felt that there was a need for mental health services that are specifically designed to address the complex traumas experienced by refugees, including specialised counselling and support programs.

Trauma was explicitly mentioned in a number of responses, but more generally it was reported that isolation in hotels, lack of community, and hostile interactions with lawyers, police, housing officials, and Home Office officials created a sense of discomfort and insecurity that prevented people with lived experience from effectively recovering from whatever prior trauma they had endured.

"Many of us come with heavy traumas and need psychological support to deal with past and current stresses."

"Counselling services should be readily available and equipped to handle the specific traumas of refugees."

"Workshops on dealing with trauma and stress management should be part of regular support for new arrivals."

“Participants [at our table] share concerns about feeling uneasy around the police and observe differential treatment by teachers. They suggest educating the police on appropriate conduct.”

“Police involvement causes immediate fear, it's handled like seeking asylum is illegal! The treatment is terrible. All luggage and treatment reinforces this”


The additional challenges faced by New Scots with disabilities were highlighted, as was a need for more tailored support services that address both their status as New Scots and their specific disability-related needs. Support for disability came up in relation to housing, specifically the provision of housing that is adapted for disabled New Scots.

"Refugees with disabilities face even greater challenges and need tailored support."

"Accessibility should be a priority in all refugee accommodations and services."

"There should be specific programs addressing the needs of disabled refugees to ensure they receive proper care and opportunities."

“All this services will not only be for children but for anyone who is in need, we have mothers who struggle with autistic children, and all sorts of challenges and no one helps them they are completely alone.”

“I kindly request that they pay more attention to the issues my family is suffering from, because I have three disabled individuals in my family, and particularly because none of us can speak English, we encounter difficulties in housing, employment, training and education.”


Gender-specific challenges were recognised, particularly the unique vulnerabilities faced by women and LGBTQ+ New Scots. Responses called for gender-sensitive policies and programs that address the specific risks and needs of these groups. There were a number of comments specifically around the risks around dealing with lawyers who are not friendly to LGBTQI+ New Scots. Several participants asked for more culturally sensitive, or completely separate, female-only facilities for sport and leisure, as well as support for childcare so that women can access education. There were also requests for protection and support for women in case of relationship breakdown or as a result of domestic violence.

“Women need to be able to access services to support them if or when they feel they no longer wish to be in a relationship with their husbands or partners.”

“There are not as many, or enough groups and organisation set out to support men like there are to support women.”

“Women refugees often face more significant challenges and risks, needing targeted support."

"Gender-specific health and safety programs are essential to address the unique vulnerabilities of women and LGBTQ+ refugees."

"There should be safe spaces and support networks specifically for women and LGBTQ+ individuals among the refugee community."

Youth and elderly

The distinct needs of young and elderly New Scots were raised, alongside requests for age-appropriate services and programs. For young people, there was an emphasis on education and employment opportunities, while for the elderly, the focus was on social inclusion and accessible healthcare.

"Youth need education and engagement activities to keep them integrated and hopeful about their future."

"Elderly refugees often feel neglected and need more attention in terms of healthcare and social activities."

"Programs should be age-sensitive, addressing the specific needs of both younger and older refugees."

“I’m 58 years old, and it’s difficult for me to study language. I have health issues. Without language, it’s difficult to find a job, especially in a small town where you don’t have a car to get to the future job. Even with the support of interpreters, it is difficult to find a common language with a GP.”

“the older generation are isolated and lonely if only the was a place where they can have their own safe place to be ..”

Examples of good practice

Several participants provided examples of programs and initiatives that have successfully supported New Scots’ integration. These examples were cited as models that could be replicated or expanded, including community partnerships, employment programs, and cultural integration initiatives.

“The resettlement team has been instrumental in helping with integration. Their remarkable service and assistance in settling better should continue.”

“Effective Initiatives - Support from various organisations, including the Scottish Refugee Council, Ukrainian societies, and university bodies.”

"Programs that successfully integrate refugees should be highlighted and replicated."

"Sharing best practices among organisations can lead to better service provision and integration strategies."

"Learning from what works well is crucial for improving our approach to helping refugees settle and thrive in new environments."

Thematic findings from question 3

The thematic findings from question 3 (detailed below) are presented separately as this question focused on specific actions that could be taken to improve the situation for New Scots. Alongside the thematic findings specific actions raised by the participants relevant to each them have also been raised.

Question 3: Based on your discussions above, if your community could choose only one action that the Scottish Government could deliver to improve their lives, what would that action be?

There are two important points to note regarding responses to this question:

a. Many responses indicate that many participants did not understand which powers are devolved and which reserved in relation to the needs of New Scots. This is particularly relevant for theme 13 (safety and security) and 18 (systems and processes).

b. Rights – access to information about rights, upholding rights, understanding rights – was a cross-cutting topic across all thematic areas.


Lack of sustainable, long-term funding was flagged by many participants as a key problem, leading to organisations working with refugees and people seeking asylum often relying on short-term funding to run initiatives and projects.

Funding was also an important factor in supporting communities and integration with New Scots, with responses underlining the importance of:

“Active participation in community development projects with available funding to enhance positive values and support right objectives.”

According to participants, key recommendations for action include:

  • Allocate additional funding and resources to improve access to tailored support services for asylum seekers and refugees: for example, establish business start-up funding for refugee communities and core funding for ESOL and mental health support for New Scots
  • Deliver Scottish Government funding at a local authority and local community level

Agency and representation

The need for greater representation of New Scots was raised very often. Many participants raised the lack of representation of New Scots in decision making structures in many different areas as an area for improvement. People pointed out that New Scots are experts, people with lived experience who would bring great knowledge and improvement to policies and services:

“Refugees know their need and their voices should be heard”.

Participants suggested the following key recommendations for action:

  • New Scots should be embedded into drafting policies, planning, and the decision-making process of national bodies from the beginning stages - (including Scottish Government) who support inclusion, diversity and equality.
  • Amplify the voices of refugees in decision-making processes and policy development, ensuring that their perspectives, experiences, and aspirations inform the design and implementation of initiatives aimed at supporting their integration and well-being


People reported insufficient access to dental care, and difficulty in accessing GPs and other health services due to language barriers. The great majority of responses spoke of the high levels of need and the scarcity of provision to support the mental health support of New Scots. This impacted on many areas of people’s lives:

“mental health issues, anxiety issues, breakdown of relationships, lack of trust, stress and depression, lack of confidence, fear, discomfort, confusion, challenging behaviour”

Many responses expressed, in different ways, the need for the following actions:

  • Need to raise awareness about mental health issues among asylum seekers, refugees and their families.
  • Understanding of health and wellbeing needs and experiences by service providers to enable them to meet the needs of refugees and people seeking asylum. This includes increased awareness and training on trauma informed practice, as well as broader issues such as the impact of social isolation and racism.
  • More therapy with shorter waiting times


Responses connected to education were divided into two broad categories: actions to support the education of New Scots so they could flourish in Scotland, and actions to support the education of agencies and communities in Scotland so they could understand the needs of New Scots.

The first category of actions suggested related mostly to removing inequalities and other barriers to accessing higher education:

  • The Government should support individuals within the asylum system to have the same access to higher education as other people.
  • Support better communication (especially translation) between education settings and parents to help them understand the Scottish education system.
  • Help colleges to work more closely with community service providers.

With regards to primary education, people said that there was a need for:

  • More “support in schools or bullying policies”.
  • “schools to have students ‘buddy up’ [to support New Scots]”.

Many people were keen on courses for New Scots to learn about their rights:

  • Rights Course for New Scots: Create a course where New Scots can learn about all their rights in Scotland.

A great deal of responses also indicated the need to engage in the education of receiving communities regarding the needs and cultures of New Scots and what can support them. Actions suggested in this regard include:

  • Yearly National conferences aimed at showcasing [...] contributions of New Scots, and promoting general understanding.
  • Professional learning for health workers and services who haven’t worked with new Scots before.
  • Scottish Government to put the topic of asylum and refugees into the curriculum of excellence so children can learn about diversity and how to live (accept people coming to live here in Scotland).


This theme gathered a great number of responses, most of which came down to the need for permission to work for asylum seekers and all expressed the same urgent need for action:

“Change the law - let me work!”

To alleviate the frustration and deskilling stemming from the fact that people seeking asylum are not currently allowed to work, actions suggested included:

  • Support volunteering more: Ideally a dedicated resource to support with volunteering (especially for people seeking asylum). Align with the volunteering action plan.

To support New Scots in gaining employment, people suggested the following actions:

  • The policy can further integrate ways to provide onsite job training [...] similar to apprenticeship programs to support people seeking asylum and refugees transition from unemployment to being productive citizens.
  • Allow people seeking asylum to do the jobs that they are skilled in from their home.
  • Local employment opportunities for members from the group as a way of promoting integration, connections and general understanding.

Community & integration

Actions suggested for this theme included supporting community education related to New Scots and their needs:

  • [Support] more awareness within the wider community.
  • Support receiving communities as well as New Scots in the work of integration.

Many people suggested having hubs around to help New Scots to integrate, with the Scottish Government supporting places where New Scots communities can meet and also encounter receiving communities:

  • To create hubs that would help with settling in local areas: consulting with finding housing and work, language courses, consulting on the organisation of leisure for parents and children. Space for people to gather 2-3 times per week to communicate, exchange information, groups by interest.

Further actions suggested included:

  • Strengthen partnerships with local communities, civil society organisations, and grassroots initiatives to leverage collective resources, expertise, and support networks in promoting refugee integration and fostering social cohesion at the grassroots level.
  • Support ESOL provision in communities: People newly arrived in Scotland are expected to integrate, however without language skills this is largely impossible.

Housing was also seen as particularly important:

  • “[access to suitable accommodation is] fundamental for refugees' stability and successful integration into the community.”

Support (financial & legal)

This theme was strongly represented in many responses. Participants reported that New Scots often have limited advice support provisions and no access to legal aid and information. Furthermore, financial support is non-existent or extremely minimal:

“The money we get is not enough, it is only enough to survive.”

Further actions suggested included:

  • Provide legal advice and support.
  • Enhance financial support for people seeking asylum without the right to work.

Suggestions also included drawing on the knowledge and lived experience of New Scots to support other New Scots through financial and legal difficulties:

  • Support newly set up charities by lived-experienced refugees [so] that they can pass their skills and expertise to newly arrived people seeking asylum, and better develop the bespoke support required.

Services and lack of information

People expressed the need to be informed of their rights (to employment, education, healthcare etc) and opportunities, and stated that unfortunately in many cases access to services and information about services was inadequate or lacking. Access to services and information about services was understood as being strongly linked to integration and supporting the agency of New Scots. Many responses stressed that New Scots should be given the platform and opportunity to understand their rights, responsibilities and the right information for them to live independently. Actions suggested included:

  • Improve awareness of services (that are designed to aid individuals finding their feet).
  • [Provide] unified list of local services for arriving people.
  • Advice in self-employment and how to start [their] own business here in Scotland.

Suggestions for specific information courses for New Scots were repeatedly made including:

  • Workshops for adults on Scottish rules and laws, regulations, cultural differences, educational system and options available to New Scots when faced with discrimination or if they are a victim of a crime.
  • More advice and guidance in the job centres related to the benefits an individual is entitled rather than to frame the information into just commitment to work without explanation or guidance leaving the refugees in a full darkness of how the system works.

Languages and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

The vast majority of people were aware of the importance of improving their English in order to be able to access education and/or the job market. Languages and ESOL were also connected to integration. Suggested actions for this theme were divided into two broad categories: those related to ESOL learning, and those related to languages beyond just English.

Regarding engagement with ESOL, responses indicated that access to classes was complicated by New Scots struggling with mental health and uncertainty over their status. Literacy is an issue in some communities, and this affects ESOL provision, with some New Scots not reportedly not literate in their own language. Suggestions to improve ESOL provision in order to meet the specific needs of New Scots include:

  • [New Scots community language] teachers for ESOL […] due to difficulty communicating with native English speakers (basic level learners)
  • English for Kids and Teens
  • Evening school to learn the English language for those who work full time, and the provision of language courses focused on certain professions.
  • Increasing the number of language teaching hours
  • Structured opportunity for organisations to communicate e.g. ESOL network.
  • Develop educational resources on refugee rights for ESOL learners, the public etc.

Beyond just English, responses related to language raised the issue of bureaucratic and policy ‘jargon’ which is a language many New Scots find very difficult to access. Participants suggested that:

  • Government should focus more on better policy making and easier to understand without using big jargons and sentences that complicates the public.
  • Policy makers should understand that not everyone holds a high level of language skills. Words used in policy should be easy to understand.

Participants indicated that for some community languages in particular it is very difficult to find interpreters. Suggestions therefore included:

  • Increase translation and interpreting particularly for specific hard-to-find languages.

Translation and interpreting was seen as especially important to access services - and to make consultations meaningful and representative. Actions suggested included:

  • [Make more] translations and interpreters [...] available.
  • [Support} More services and healthcare providers [to] use interpreters. Social work should use them more.
  • Create more accessible and translated information/documents – from housing application forms to school forms.

The language used more widely across society to talk about New Scots was highlighted as crucial to dignity and equality. Participants suggested that the Scottish Government should work to:

  • [...] challenge some of the racist and derogatory language and discussion had in media for example – ‘stop the yachts not the boats’.

Specific language needs, other than ESOL, generated suggestions for actions such as:

  • Support in accessing BSL (link to Disability theme)
  • Do the driving theory test in people’s own language (link to Transport theme)

Community languages were also seen as something that needs to be maintained and a desirable skill, with participants making the following suggestions for action the Scottish Government could take in this regard:

  • Add Arabic to the available options to study at school. This would enable them to be able to receive another SQA qualification for their C.V.
  • [Support] Ukrainian Sunday school with state accreditation, [teaching] Ukrainian language and literature, history and culture of Ukraine, etc.


Participants expressed the importance of culture in many different aspects of life. These ranged from daily living arrangements related to housing and food to the broader need of enhancing community engagement and social connections through culturally sensitive programs and activities. Suggested actions included:

  • [supporting] Opportunities for the New Scots to promote their diverse culture and integrate and engage in the community should be made available.
  • Promoting cultural understanding across the country
  • School curriculum should reflect the cultures of the different cultural groups in the community.

Culture also related to health, in particular mental health, with suggested action to support:

  • Culturally informed mental health approaches based on and highlighting different cultural understanding and informing.

Digital access

The relatively few responses related to this theme were all connected to information about services. Participants indicated the need for provision of online information calling for the following actions:

  • An online Scottish Government portal where [New Scots] could see information on rights, FAQs and ask their own questions anonymously about life in Scotland.
  • A searchable database of services, based for example on postcode available to refugees and people seeking asylum.
  • Regularly available online consultations on the matters of rights, housing, education, including chat box features and mobile apps to assist New Scots who face language barriers.


This theme featured in a great number of responses, linking in particular with mental health and integration. The quality of housing for New Scots was often very poor:

“[New Scots] mentioned […] poor conditions, such as no flooring, mould, no heating etc.

“Housing is not good. Damp on walls. No carpet. No furniture.” There was also great scarcity of available housing, particularly in major cities. People also called for actions to increase agency and representation in determining housing for New Scots, saying that they felt “lack of control of the housing.”

The many different responses on the theme of housing are summarised into the following key calls for action:

  • More available housing for New Scots
  • Better quality housing
  • Less waiting times for housing access
  • Priority housing availability for families with children
  • Stop hotel accommodation for people seeking asylum.

Safety & security

Responses related to this theme were expressed with strong emotions, particularly given that New Scots had experienced extremely unsafe situations in their country of origin and, very often, also on their journeys to Scotland. People repeatedly stated that to feel safe and secure they needed certainty over their immigration status:

“I’m the mother of four children. I'm from the region of Ukraine that is under constant shelling from the start of the war. I’d really want some certainty since there is nowhere for me to go back to Ukraine. My children want to study here and integrate. When we go back to Ukraine, there is no job in our town, and I don’t know how we will live there. I’d really want to have an option to stay in Scotland to give my children the opportunity to study and develop in peace.”

Further actions suggested included:

  • A more definite civil status for living in UK.
  • A sense of certainty about the future, after […] visas are expired. It’s really important to know about permanent residency.

Responses also called for actions to make New Scots feel safer in Scotland through better:

  • Education for Police Scotland to recognise and address hate crime and support New Scots in issues with neighbours. (Link to discrimination, 14)
  • Confidentiality when accessing services.


Responses indicated that “systemic discrimination and racism exists in social and formal educational structures including in Scottish asylum and immigration policies”, with extremely negative consequences on educational attainment and mental health. Respondents also spoke about discrimination and racism in housing allocation and repairs and hate crime issues.

People called for:

  • Anti-racism work: linking with the building racial literacy programme.

With regards LGBTQ+ people, a key action suggested was related to embedding understanding of their particular needs and situations:

  • Understand how hard it is for LGBT people to seek asylum. We're like second class citizens. Some support is homophobic or we're scared of coming out because of our experiences. We also experience racism / tribalism, homophobia, fear, prejudice, "lowest of low" (whilst being criminalised)

Families and children

High priority amongst responses related to this theme was given to:

  • Supporting access to education for children
  • Support accessing childcare to help parents secure employment.
  • Giving an allowance for the third and fourth child under Universal Credit

There were also requests for processes that make it easier for family reunification to happen quickly.

  • Key actions is to save our families back home. They are under threat and have been abducted.
  • Reduce visa fees for refugee families especially with children.


Alongside the right to work, a great many responses requested the right to free bus travel, saying that it would allow New Scots to see more of Scotland and feel less ‘trapped’ and ‘isolated’, and would also help them attend appointments and look for volunteering opportunities. Suggested actions included:

  • Give access to free bus travel for refugees, people seeking asylum and those with no recourse to public funds.

This key point was connected to systems and processes and seen as an important way to:

“alleviate the difficulty of the time spent waiting for the asylum claim outcome”.

Responses also indicated the need for straightforward access to information as vital for helping New Scots navigate their new environment and access essential services, alongside the importance of learning to drive. People asked the Scottish Government to provide:

  • Better information provision regarding transport
  • Support with driving lessons and getting a driving licence.

Skills recognition

Closely linked to Education and Employment, the responses related to Skills recognition presented practical suggestions for actions to:

  • “Give asylum seekers a chance to share knowledge, skills, and ideas.”
  • Advocate for the recognition of overseas qualifications and professional skills.
  • Coordinate with the private sector to simplify employment procedures for skilled individuals and enabling refugees to enter the job market with basic language skills is essential.
  • Ensure better communication between local authorities to facilitate skills recognition.
  • Address barriers that prevent individuals without formal qualifications from accessing higher education.

System and processes

Most responses connected to this theme revolved around problems with the UK immigration and asylum system as it currently stands. Repeatedly, grave concerns were raised regarding the system’s impact on people from refugee background mental health and breaches people human rights and the rights of children. Most responses also indicated that people were not aware of the delimitations between devolved and reserved powers. Those who were aware of these delimitations were still keen to stress that this very situation can negatively affect New Scots.

A central concern, repeatedly referred to many times, is the length of time it takes for people’s asylum claims to be processed, with people stressing that:

“expediting the naturalisation process for refugees is crucial for their seamless integration into society.”

A significant number of responses suggested:

  • The need for quick decisions on asylum claims
  • Streamlining family reunification procedures
  • Considering the asylum waiting period as part of the residency requirement for permanent residency is recommended.

In terms of systems, many responses suggested action to support better systems of communication between agencies:

  • Communication across national organisations - it has to be a continuous process so as to learn from and support each other. It avoids redundancy, duplication and ignorance.
  • Establishing a central government body which is responsible for coordinating all services and support for refugees and people seeking asylum.

Green spaces, sport and environment

The majority of responses connected to this theme related to the needs of children and young people and involved action around improved funding of activities for these groups of New Scots, including:

  • Funding to be provided to children of people in the asylum process and those with leave to remain but no recourse to public fund to participate in sports and Leisure activities within their community.
  • Access to children's summer camps
  • Develop more local leisure facilities for children, both indoors and outdoors.

Some barriers to access were mentioned, in particular language issues:

“In sport, we notice that lots of young New Scots talents are struggling due to communication issues, the integration process can be frustrating at times and they struggle to feel part of a team due to language barriers therefore communication should be the main priority”

Gendered barriers to accessing sports led to calls to:

  • Organise events to enhance community integration, including sports (especially for women).

Aside from children’s needs, cricket and football were the sports most mentioned as being preferred by New Scots.


All responses related to this theme revolved around suggestions for:

  • More funding for charities and third sector organisations.


The few responses which referred to this theme acknowledged that in some rural areas with high deprivation there can be hostility towards new communities, and asked the Scottish Government to:

  • support communities that are here already and [can] support integration.

Participants also reported that cities have larger communities over longer time periods than rural areas but can still have difficulties in relation to racism and unconscious bias. They stressed that it is still important to take forward anti-racism work, asking the Scottish Government to:

  • Increase and provide professional learning in relation to [anti-racism] as well as integration.


This theme linked closely to Health and Education. New Scots have specific needs related to the traumatic events they experienced in their countries of origin as well as in the journey towards seeking sanctuary in Scotland. Participants suggested the following actions:

  • Support for people coming from places that don’t know to ask for help about mental health support after trauma.
  • Provide tailored support for vulnerable groups within the refugee population, including unaccompanied minors, survivors of trauma, and individuals with disabilities, to address their specific needs and ensure their full participation in society.
  • More funding to support the mental health and integration of torture survivors.

Responses also indicated that there is a strong need for action to improve understanding of health and wellbeing needs and experiences by service providers to enable them to meet the needs of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Suggestions to this end included:

  • Increased awareness and training on trauma informed practice, as well as broader issues such as the impact of social isolation and racism
  • Trauma informed outreach services
  • National training [for ESOL teachers] on being trauma-informed when working with ESOL learners.
  • Ensuring that all services are trauma-informed, especially job centre.
  • Stopping age dispute and assessment and child detention for people seeking asylum who experienced torture.


Responses indicated that there was not enough information regarding New Scots who have needs related to disabilities; that there was insufficient support tailored to specific trauma-related needs; and that current structures of service provision were difficult to navigate. Participants therefore asked for actions to provide various types of support:

  • Support […] for identifying housing for families with disability needs.
  • Tailored support for vulnerable groups within the refugee population, including unaccompanied minors, survivors of trauma, and individuals with disabilities, to address their specific needs and ensure their full participation in society.
  • Support in navigating structures / access/ health / social care/ housing / does it recognise the needs of new Scots with multiple needs and descriptors.


All responses related to this theme were about women who were single mothers. Many responses suggested providing greater support for single mothers to access opportunities to work and study, by:

  • [providing] school aftercare and childcare for free.

Other responses asked for more awareness and action specifically regarding:

  • Support for maternity, birth and postpartum help for women on their own.

Youth and elderly

Many responses were related to financial support and funding, covering various aspects of young people’s lives:

  • Support with funding for young artists.
  • Provide a winter clothes voucher for all under 18s.
  • Standardise financial support: young people in different local authorities get different amounts [of financial support]

Unaccompanied minors were recognised as a specific group within young New Scots, with particular needs and experiences of trauma. Suggested actions to support unaccompanied minors included:

  • Run legal workshops for young people on the laws and regulations in Scotland. This would help inform them on the behavioural expectations from the police, school, council etc.
  • Stopping age dispute and assessment and child detention for people seeking asylum who experienced torture.

Participants recognised that many New Scots, including young people, suffer from isolation. Employment and education were recognised as factors that can alleviate social isolation; however, young people whose status is not yet determined face systemic barriers to employment and accessing higher education. People therefore suggested actions to:

  • [improve] access to employment for young people to create financial freedom.
  • Consider the impact on younger individuals, including access to subsidised university education.

Examples of good practice

There were not many responses related to this theme, but all indicated the importance of recognising and sharing good practices to support organisations in their delivery of services. Suggestions included:

  • Recognition of the micro-organisations that are set up, particularly [those] set up by refugees.
  • Find ways to connect and share what they are doing.
  • ‘Sharing life sharing languages’ – a refresh of that project is required.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) consultations

Three consultations were also conducted with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) in Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow. Across these three areas 33 young people ranging from 15 to 20 years old were consulted.

The young people were asked the same three questions as the community consultations:

1. In your community, local authority area, region, what are organisations (local authorities, public bodies, charities, refugee and community groups) currently doing well that contribute to supporting your integration?

How could these be improved?

What further actions need to happen locally?

2. Thinking about the New Scots Partnership (Scottish Government, Council of Scottish Local Authorities [COSLA] and Scottish Refugee Council) and other national organisations – what are the positive things they are doing to support your community?

How could these be built on?

What further actions are needed at a national level?

3. Based on your discussions above, if your community could choose only one action that the Scottish Government could deliver to improve their lives, what would that action be?

The output from each community event was translated, where necessary, and written up for analysis by the Researchers.

With regards to question 1, the responses from the young people being consulted about integration services in their community reveal several thematic areas of concern, along with their thoughts and suggestions for improvement:

Accommodation and living conditions

  • Support and Safety Concerns: Young people feel isolated, especially those living alone or in student accommodations. They report a lack of regular contact and check-ins from social workers, which contrasts with their previous experiences in supported accommodations where staff frequently checked on them.
  • Desire for Autonomy and Choice: Some express dissatisfaction with being moved by social workers to locations where they feel out of place or uncomfortable. Others prefer living alone or in less crowded settings and have specific needs for accommodation that aligns with their personal and cultural preferences.

Social work and support

  • Inconsistency in Contact and Support: There is a significant discrepancy in the frequency and quality of contact from social workers. Young people in Glasgow report infrequent contact and feel unsupported, whereas those in other regions like North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire, and North Ayrshire report more consistent interactions.
  • Accessibility and Responsiveness: Many young people do not know how to reach their social workers or who to contact if their social worker is unavailable. They desire more consistent and reliable communication channels.

Financial support and resources

  • Variability in Financial Assistance: Young people notice disparities in the financial support provided by different local authorities, affecting their ability to afford necessities. Those in areas without affordable grocery options find it particularly challenging to manage with the allowances they receive.
  • Support for Personal Needs: There are calls for better provision for personal needs such as clothing, where some feel their choices are restricted or not respected by social workers.

Education and opportunities

  • Barriers to Education: Many young people face delays and obstacles in accessing education, particularly in enrolling in colleges or courses like ESOL. Some are told they have to wait for extended periods due to space unavailability or are restricted in their choice of study until they attain certain legal statuses.
  • Need for Inclusion in Schools: Requests for culturally appropriate options like halal food have gone unaddressed, impacting the daily lives of those dependent on school meals.

Health and wellbeing

  • Healthcare Access and Mental Health Support: Registrations with GPs and regular health check-ins vary, with some receiving adequate support and others experiencing neglect, especially those in temporary accommodations like hotels.
  • Physical and Mental Health Challenges: The limited availability of health services in hotels and the lack of proper nutrition are particularly highlighted as inadequate and detrimental to their well-being.

Cultural and social integration

  • Social Isolation and Community Integration: Young people discuss the lack of social and recreational activities in some areas, which hampers their ability to integrate and form friendships. The importance of support in joining local teams or groups is emphasised.

Overall, these young people are calling for more tailored and responsive support from social work and local authorities, better financial and personal support systems, and more inclusive and accessible educational and health services to improve their integration and quality of life.

The responses to the second question about the New Scots Partnership and other national organisations reveal several key areas where young people see a need for improvement and further action at a national level.

Life skills education

  • Training and Support: Young people express a need for more structured education in life skills, particularly as they transition from supported to independent living. Essential skills mentioned include making phone calls to healthcare providers, understanding and navigating local regulations, and using public transportation.
  • Early Introduction to System Navigation: They would benefit from early and clear explanations about navigating various life stages in Scotland, including education systems, healthcare, and legal matters.


  • Access and Support: There is a strong desire for better access to education, especially for those with disrupted or minimal educational backgrounds. Young people emphasise the need for more tailored support in learning English and understanding the educational pathways available to them.
  • Clarity and Guidance: They seek clearer guidance on educational stages and expectations, suggesting that earlier intervention could make educational transitions smoother.

Guardianship and support networks

  • Enhanced Guardianship Programs: Guardianship is highly valued for the support and social connections it facilitates. Young people appreciate the availability of interpreters and a variety of activities through these programs, but they request more opportunities, such as competitions and more frequent social activities to further aid in community integration and language practice.
  • Inconsistent Support Across Locations: Concerns are raised about the variability in care and support among different councils, leading to calls for standardisation of services to ensure equity regardless of geographic location.

Health services

  • Interpreter Services: The lack of interpreters at critical healthcare appointments, like dental surgeries, is a significant issue, highlighting the need for reliable language support in healthcare settings.
  • Feedback and Transparency in Consultations: Young people express frustration over the lack of feedback following consultations with authorities, indicating a need for more transparent communication and follow-up actions.

Support and accessibility

  • Support Person Accessibility: When asked whom they would contact first for support, responses vary, indicating reliance on guardians, key workers, and social workers. This diversity underscores the importance of these roles and the need for their availability and accessibility.
  • Recreational Opportunities: There is a desire for more inclusive and accessible recreational activities, particularly sports programs like football, which not only keep them active but also help in social integration. The lack of local teams in places like Peterhead forces young people to travel, limiting their participation.

Overall, the young people consulted are calling for more comprehensive and consistent support across various services, enhanced educational and life skills training, improved communication and feedback mechanisms, and greater access to recreational and social opportunities at a national level to support their integration and development within the community.

With regards to the third question young people reported a number of priority actions.

Priority actions

Three priority actions stood out in the responses collected, namely:

  1. Education: Many participants suggested providing bursaries to young people without status to enable them to pursue education. Additionally, there is a desire for more opportunities to study subjects beyond English and expanded access to ESOL classes to accommodate those who already speak English well.
  1. Financial Equality and Support: UASC express concerns about the insufficiency of the financial support provided, which only covers basic survival needs. They also highlight disparities in the financial assistance offered across different local authorities, suggesting a need for standardised support that ensures fairness and adequacy.
  1. Health and Mental Health Services: They also reported excessively long waiting times for basic healthcare services, including hospital and dentist appointments. They emphasised the need for better access to mental health services and shorter waiting times for therapy, indicating an overall need for improved healthcare accessibility and responsiveness.

Single key action for the Scottish Government

  • Standardise Treatment Across Councils: The most critical request is for the Scottish Government to make a rule ensuring that all councils treat young people seeking asylum and refugees equally and fairly. This request stemmed from frustrations over inconsistencies in financial support, healthcare access, and educational opportunities depending on the region.

Other important Issues raised

  • Interpreters: The need for more widespread use of interpreters in healthcare and social work is frequently mentioned, highlighting a gap in communication and service accessibility for those who are not native English speakers.
  • Living Conditions: Concerns about living in hotels due to poor food quality, restrictions on food storage, and the unfulfilled promises of relocation underscore the need for improved accommodation standards and more transparent communication regarding housing plans.
  • Legal and Asylum Process: Calls to speed up legal proceedings and the asylum process reflect the stress and uncertainty faced by individuals awaiting the outcomes of their asylum claims.
  • Recreational Activities: The request for more sports and activities points to a need for more comprehensive integration efforts that include recreational opportunities to improve well-being and social connections.

In summary, these responses point to a broad consensus on the need for more equitable, comprehensive, and responsive support systems for people seeking asylum and refugees in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on ensuring uniform treatment across different regions.



Back to top