New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy: 2024

A strategy supporting the integration of refugees, people seeking asylum and other forced migrants within Scotland’s communities. The strategy is led jointly by the Scottish Government, COSLA and Scottish Refugee Council.

Who are New Scots?

The UK is a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) and the supporting 1967 Protocol. The 1951 Convention is the key legal document defining who a refugee is, establishing the rights of refugees and setting out the responsibilities of signatory states. Article 1(A) of the 1951 Convention defines a refugee as a person who:

‘owing to 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 or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.’

According to international law, everyone who satisfies this definition is a refugee. The 1951 Convention does not prescribe a specific mechanism through which states should determine refugee status. The recognition of refugee status is declaratory, not constitutive. This means that a person does not become a refugee because they are recognised; rather, they are recognised because they are a refugee.

In this Strategy, the term ‘New Scots’ is used to refer to people living in Scotland who have been forcibly displaced or are making a claim that they have a well-founded fear of persecution. The term ‘New Scots’ includes people who have been granted refugee status or another form of humanitarian protection, and their dependents; people seeking asylum and people seeking protection as a result of displacement, exploitation or political persecution; as well as those whose application for asylum has been refused, but who remain in Scotland. It also includes people who are or may become stateless and in need of international protection. New Scots partners understand that there is not universal consensus around the term New Scots but the consultation has shown that there was agreement on the fact that it conveys a helpful message of inclusion to all who need safety in Scotland for as long as they need it.

While neither international law nor this Strategy distinguish between refugees and people seeking asylum, there is a distinction in UK immigration legislation, which means they have different rights and entitlements under UK law.



Back to top