Publication - Research and analysis

New Scots refugee integration strategy 2018-2022: evidence of integration

Published: 30 May 2019

A study of existing evidence on refugee integration in Scotland to support the New Scots strategy 2018-2022.

New Scots refugee integration strategy 2018-2022: evidence of integration
Findings

Findings

In this chapter, the shape, character and format of the evidence identified is described. This is not a systematic evaluation of the content or quality of any evidence identified. The focus is on providing an oversight of the character of the evidence available based on themes, date of publication and the source.

When was the evidence recorded or produced?

174 evidence sources have been identified which were published between 2000 and 2018.

As Chart 1 and Table 1 show, evidence publishing peaked in 2010 but then fell sharply to levels similar to previous years. A clear explanation for this peak has not been identified.  It may demonstrate research which had been conducted in earlier years being published in 2010. This could happen due to alignment of commissioning of research and the time taken for publication.

Despite an expectation of a significant rise in the amount of research conducted after 2015 (the peak of the humanitarian crisis), the number of research and other documents presenting evidence on refugee integration has instead been relatively steady and has only started to increase in 2018.  There has been a general consistency in evidence generation since 2013.  However, this does not necessarily mean that there has not been an increase in research about refugees and asylum seekers since the humanitarian crisis in 2015. For example in academia, considering the time it would take for a research project to get started, be conducted and published, there could be a number of research projects which have been initiated since the humanitarian crisis in 2015 but have not been published by the time this research was done.  It may be that 2010 saw a peak for reasons of funding availability and cycles of research aligning and this may be seen again.

Chart 1: Number of Records based on the date of publication

Chart 1: Number of Records based on the date of publication

Table 1: Number of records based on the date of being published 

Date Evidence sources identified
2001 3
2002 8
2003 1
2004 7
2005 6
2006 8
2007 7
2008 5
2009 11
2010 25
2011 11
2012 5
2013 12
2014 10
2015 12
2016 12
2017 10
2018 16
Unknown / Unclear[3] 5
 Total 174

Which research methods are used?

As Chart 2 shows, 42% of the evidence sources identified used mixed methods.  After that qualitative methods were most common, constituting 29%.  Quantitative methods accounted for 20%, 4% were Literature Reviews and the remaining evidence sources identified were policy documents.

The mixed methods evidence identified tends to have only a small scale quantitative element, this combined with the proportion of purely qualitative method research, shows that data evidencing integration in Scotland is a predominantly qualitative method area. One explanation for this could be that while in places like Glasgow the large number of refugees and asylum seekers make quantitative and statistical research possible and scientifically meaningful, in many other communities across Scotland the small number of refugees makes quantitative research, and thus shaping a representative sample, problematic.

It is worth mentioning that available quantitative statistics for refugees in the UK overall are limited.  In many cases this is due to the lack of a necessity to record refugee status.  Being a refugee is not a protected characteristic in itself so this is not captured or reported as part of equality data.  For instance in the case of education, there is no necessity to record whether people who enroll in colleges or universities have refugee status.  Schools are not obliged to record or report their pupils’ background in terms of refugee status.  This information may only be captured if it is volunteered.  This results in the situation that statistical information or evidence does not exist unless it is deliberately recorded in a project or programme.

Chart 2: The frequency of research method used in sources of evidence methods

Chart 2: The frequency of research method used in sources of evidence methods

Table 2: The frequency of research method used in sources of evidence

Method  Mixed methods Quantitative methods Qualitative methods Literature review  Policy Document
Number 73 35 51 12 3

Who funded the evidence?

The evidence identified has been funded by a variety of organisations. The full record of sponsors can be found in the annex.  It is also worth mentioning that a significant number of evidence records had co-sponsors which means more than one organisation funded the research.

Table 3: The main funders for the sources of evidence

Home Office  Scottish Government Refugee Council Scottish Refugee Council  British Red Cross Academia
7 8 25 19 9 30

As Table 3 shows, a significant part of evidence comes from academic work with 30 sources identified, including three PhD dissertations.  Academic publications which have been commissioned or acknowledge funding have been excluded from this figure as they are represented in other categories; to better reflect which organisations are generating and enabling access to research.

After academic works, the Refugee Council has supported the most evidence sources with 25 identified, followed by the Scottish Refugee Council with 19.  British Red Cross come next with 9 records.  The Home Office commissioned or produced 7 documents (this includes migration statistics which are published each quarter).  The Scottish Government commissioned or produced 8 documents, this includes two New Scots strategies.  Some of the other organisations generating evidence identified in this research include The Big Lottery Fund (4), COSLA (4) and Oxfam (7).

Detailed Findings Relating to Main Themes 

Chart 3 illustrates the proportion of evidence identified during the project under each different category (please see the methodology section for more information about the categorisation used).

As Chart 3 shows, 30% of the evidence sources identified consider integration as an overall concept rather than focusing on a single specific theme. A contrast can be seen in the small share dedicated to a certain theme, e.g. education (4%) or housing (3%), compared to this larger share in “Integration as a Whole”.  While this shows that there can be a limited number of dedicated evidence sources for some categories, they may feature as part of overall integration evidence and therefore have a broader base of potential evidence available.  This is demonstrated in more detail in relation to the main themes later.

The chart demonstrates the interconnectedness of refugee integration being reflected in the evidence available.  Evidence sources were more likely to consider multiple themes with few focusing on just one specific theme.  The exception is communities, culture and social connections (11%), but this is a particularly broad category.  This is likely to be because the needs of refugees, like anyone else, rarely occur in isolation.  For example, language can be fundamental to accessing healthcare, employment or education.  

Chart 3: Evidence by Category[4]

Chart 3: Evidence by Category

Employment

As Table 4 and Chart 4 show, most records on employment are part of integrated research records rather than being dedicated to employment.  Only 10 records are dedicated to employment, representing 6% of overall evidence.  While there are a further 28 records which also present evidence on employment as part of integrated research, or a further 16% of records presenting evidence on employment.  This means employment is considered in 32% of evidence identified (38 records).

Table 4: Quantity of dedicated or integrated records evidencing employment

Dedicated to employment  Employment included in integrated research Total records
10 28 174

Chart 4: Share of employment evidence

Chart 4: Share of employment evidence

Table 5 shows the geographic focus of evidence, for both the 10 sources dedicated to employment and those where employment is integrated in broader research.

Table 5: The number of employment records by geographical scope

Dedicated to Employment Employment included in integrated records
Scotland UK  Total Scotland UK EU Total
4 6 10 14 13 1 28

Table 6 shows the research method used for both dedicated employment records and those included in integrated records.  Most records concerning employment were produced using mixed methods (22).  Records produced by using only quantitative methods (7) have almost the same share of records produced by using qualitative methods (6).  The relatively strong representation of quantitative methods may be reflective of the nature of work which supports people to access employment and requirements to report impact based on the number of people who accessed support and their progress or achievements.

Table 6: The number of employment records by research method

Method Dedicated Integrated Total
Mixed methods 4 18 22
Literature review 1 2 3
Qualitative methods 4 2 6
Quantitative methods 1 6 7
Total 10 28 38

Housing 

As Table 7 and Chart 5 show, 6 records are dedicated only to housing, representing 3% of overall evidence.  While there are 17 integrated records which include information on housing too, representing a further 10% of overall evidence.  This makes a total 13% of sources identified which have evidence on housing, but only a small proportion are dedicated to housing with the majority of housing evidence being found alongside other themes.

Table 7: Quantity of dedicated or integrated records evidencing housing

Dedicated to housing Housing included in integrated records Total records
6 17 174

Chart 5: Share of housing evidence

Chart 5: Share of housing evidence

Table 8 shows the geographic focus of evidence, for both the 6 sources dedicated to housing and those where housing is integrated in broader research.  While the quantity of records evidencing housing is small, of the dedicated sources identified, a higher proportion focus specifically on Scotland than in the integrated records.  This may be because housing is so closely tied to physical geography that when it is a dedicated focus of research it is more likely to refer to specific places and that as housing policy is devolved the most relevant dedicated evidence will be specific to Scotland.

Table 8: The number of housing records regarding the geographical scope

Dedicated to Housing Housing included in integrated records
Scotland UK  Total Scotland UK EU Total
4 2 6 6 10 1 17

Table 9 shows that, as is the general trend across the evidence identified, the majority of records regarding housing is produced by using mixed methods (13 total).  Of the dedicated records, all research is mixed methods or qualitative.

Table 9: The number of housing records regarding the research method

Method Dedicated Integrated Total
Mixed methods 3 10 13
Literature review 0 2 2
Qualitative methods 3 2 5
Quantitative methods 0 3 3
Total 6 17 23

Education

As Table 10 and Chart 6 show, 7 records are dedicated only to education, representing 4% of evidence sources, while there are 19 integrated reports, or a further 11% of total records, which include information on education too.  That makes a total 15% of records which include evidence on education.

Table 10: Share of dedicated or integrated records evidencing education

Dedicated to education  Education included in integrated records Total records
7 19 174

Chart 6: Share of education evidence

Chart 6: Share of education evidence

Table 11 shows that four of the sources dedicated to education are focused on Scotland.  There is also a high proportion within the integrated records which are focused on Scotland, this may reflect the devolution of education policy to Scotland, resulting in more dedicated research.  Where the records look at the UK they may not reflect the devolved context of education in Scotland.

Table 11: The number of education records regarding the geographical scope

Dedicated to Education Education included in integrated records
Scotland UK  Europe Total Scotland UK Europe Total
4 2 1 7 7 11 1 19

Table 12 shows that the majority of evidence on education has been produced by using mixed methods (11) and qualitative methods (7). Evidence produced by quantitative methods accounts for only 5 records.

Table 12: The number of records in education regarding the research method 

Method Dedicated Integrated Total
Mixed methods 2 9 11
Literature review 1 2 3
Qualitative methods 4 3 7
Quantitative methods 0 5 5
Total 7 19 26

Language

As Table 13 and Chart 7 show, 6 records are dedicated only to language, representing 3% of overall evidence.  While there are a further 24 integrated records which include information on language too, or a further 14% of records presenting evidence on language. That makes a total 17% of records which include evidence on language (30 records).  This indicates that language is most likely to be considered alongside other themes when researched and highlights the important role of language in relation to accessing support services, like healthcare, or pursuing ambitions through education or employment.

Table 13: Share of dedicated or integrated records evidencing language 

Dedicated to language  Language in integrated records Total records
6 24 174

Chart 7: Share of language evidence

Chart 7: Share of language evidence

Table 14 shows that the number of evidence sources dedicated to asylum seekers and refugees’ language learning in Scotland is not very substantial (3 records) but there are 3 further sources which present evidence on asylum seekers and refugees’ language learning within the UK.  The fundamental importance of language for integration can be seen in the 24 sources where language is a feature alongside other themes like employment and community.  Fifteen of these additional evidence sources are Scotland-specific, indicating strong recognition of the role of language in supporting integration.

Table 14: The number of language records regarding the geographical scope

Dedicated to language Language included in integrated records
Scotland UK Total Scotland UK Total
3 3 6 15 9 24

Table 15 shows that just over half of evidence relating to language has been produced by using mixed methods (16) while the number of records using qualitative methods (9) and quantitative methods (5) is not substantially different.  However, all five of the quantitative sources are in integrated records, while there are five language dedicated qualitative records.

Table 15 The number of language records regarding the research method 

Method Dedicated Integrated Total
Mixed methods 1 15 16
Literature review 0 0 0
Qualitative methods 5 4 9
Quantitative methods 0 5 5
Total 6 24 30

Health and Wellbeing

As Table 16 and Chart 8 show, 15 records are dedicated only to health and wellbeing, representing 9% of overall evidence.  There are also 20 integrated reports which include information on health and wellbeing alongside other themes, or a further 11% of overall evidence.  This includes evidence relating to refugee and asylum seeker health and wellbeing in relation to poverty and employability.  That makes a total of 35 evidence sources, or 20% of total sources identified which include evidence on health and wellbeing.

Table 16: Share of dedicated or integrated records evidencing health and wellbeing 

Dedicated to health and wellbeing  Health and wellbeing included in integrated records Total records
15 20 174

Chart 8: Share of health and wellbeing evidence

Chart 8: Share of health and wellbeing evidence

As Table 17 shows, among the total number of 35 evidence sources identified concerning the health and wellbeing of refugees, nine of the 15 records dedicated to health and wellbeing focus on Scotland, compared to just six of the integrated records.

Table 17: The number of health and wellbeing records regarding the geographical scope

Dedicated to health and wellbeing Health and wellbeing included in integrated records
Scotland UK  Total Scotland UK EU Total
9 6 15 6 13 1 20

Table 18 shows that the majority of the evidence relating to health and wellbeing are produced by using mixed methods (17) and qualitative methods (8).  Six records out of 35 have used quantitative methods to evidence asylum seekers and refugees’ health and wellbeing. 

Table 18: The number health and wellbeing records regarding the research method

Method Dedicated Integrated Total
Mixed methods 7 10 17
Literature review 2 2 4
Qualitative methods 4 4 8
Quantitative methods 2 4 6
Total 15 20 35

Communities, Culture and Social Connections

This is a very broad theme, concerning the relationship between communities and asylum seekers and refugees, as well as opportunities for people to express and share culture and interests.  Evidence was included in this category where it was in any way concerned with:

  • interaction and connection between asylum seekers and refugees and communities;
  • the impact of asylum seekers and refugees on local communities, society and the economy;
  • the approaches and views of local communities on asylum seekers and refugees.

The evidence sources in this section include surveys and polling on people’s attitudes on asylum seekers and refugees, as well as reports on activities, events and projects which aim to bring asylum seekers and refugees together with communities.  Finally, quantitative or qualitative evaluations on the effects asylum seekers and refugees have on local communities in both the long and short term are also included. 

As Table 19 and Chart 9 show, 19 sources are dedicated to community, culture and social connections, representing 11% of overall records.  There are an additional 30 integrated reports which include information relating to this theme, or a further 17% of records presenting evidence on communities, culture and social connections.  This means that communities, culture and social connections is considered in 28% of sources identified overall (49 records).

Table 19: Share of dedicated or integrated records evidencing community, culture and connection

Dedicated to community, culture and social connection Community, culture and social connection in integrated records Total records
19 30 174

Chart 9: Share of communities, culture and social connections evidence

Chart 9: Share of communities, culture and social connections evidence

As Table 20 shows, among the 19 records dedicated to communities, culture and social connection, 16 specifically relate to Scotland, showing a strong recognition of the importance of community, culture and social connections for refugee and asylum seeker integration.  In the integrated records there are a similar number of sources focusing on Scotland and looking at the UK overall.

Table 20: The number of records in communities, culture and social connection regarding the geographical scope

Dedicated to communities, culture and social connection Communities, culture and social connection included in integrated records
Scotland UK  Total Scotland UK EU Total
16 3 19 13 15 2 30

As Table 21 shows the majority of evidence relating to communities, culture and social connection has been produced by using mixed methods or qualitative methods.  This is a pattern seen in other themes in the report.  However, there are also a significant number of quantitative sources.

Table 21: The number of communities, culture and social connection records regarding the research method

Method Dedicated Integrated Total
Mixed methods 8 15 23
Literature review 2 2 4
Qualitative methods 4 8 12
Quantitative methods 5 5 10
Total 19 30 49

Integration as a whole

In this section the evidence sources which consider integration as an overall concept are presented.  This includes evidence which considers a number of the main themes already reviewed in relation to integration.

Table 22 and Chart 10 show that 53, out of the 174 evidence sources identified in total, relate to integration as a whole. That constitutes 30% of the total sources of evidence identified in this research.  This represents evidence sources where there is not one distinct main theme, including sources presenting evidence on two or more themes, where there is not a dominant theme.  It illustrates the interconnectedness of integration, as even when looking at a specific theme there are times when these cannot be fully separated from each other if integration is to be understood.

Table 22: The number records in integration as a whole compared to all records found

Integration as a whole  Other records  Total records
53 121 174

Chart 10: Integration as a whole share of evidence

Chart 10: Integration as a whole share of evidence

Table 23 shows that 22 sources evidencing integration as a whole have been identified which are dedicated to Scotland, while there are 26 sources relating to the UK and four considering the UK as part of the EU.  There is also one source which is international in scope.

Table 23:  The number of records in integration as a whole regarding the geographical scope

Integration as a whole 
Scotland UK EU International Total
22 26 4 1 53

As Table 24 shows, like most themes, the majority of records are produced by using mixed methods (27) and qualitative methods (14).  There are only nine quantitative sources and three literature reviews.

Table 24: The number of records in Integration as a whole regarding the research method used

Method  Quantity
Mixed methods 27
Literature review  3
Qualitative methods 14
Quantitative methods  9
Total 53

Other Themes

In addition to evidence which reflected six of the main New Scots refugee integration strategy themes, or multiple themes across integration as a whole, evidence has been found which had a specific focus that did not fit with these themes and seemed distinct enough to need to be classified as something other than ‘integration as a whole’.  This included evidence which had a specific focus on people based on a shared protected characteristic and distinct policies like family reunion. Another reason for having additional categories is to keep the focus of some evidence, for example, evidence which were solely focused on women or older refugees and asylum seekers. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the focus of these evidence sources, there are only a small number of sources dedicated to specific topics which are outside the main themes or integration as a whole.  However, the fact that evidence sources targeting some of these areas exist highlights that there can be specific issues which refugees and asylum seekers may face because of their protected characteristics, the way they are portrayed in the media, or the way policy affects them.

Two themes were identified as a particularly strong focus which was beyond the six main themes considered. These two themes are children and family reunion, and poverty and destitution. These themes are specific enough to be considered distinct from integration as a whole. They relate closely to policy and the impact that this can have on people when they need support.

Children and family reunion

In this section evidence concerning asylum seeking and refugee children is presented. This includes sources with some consideration of other themes, like education or health and wellbeing, as well as distinct issues like violence against children and young people. A number of sources of evidence concerning children and family reunion has been found which are included in this section too.  There were no sources in integrated records which considered integration of asylum seeking and refugee children specifically or made significant reference to their experience.  This means that children and young people have not been easily identified as a consideration in evidence sources which consider refugees and asylum seekers’ integration as an overall concept.

As Table 25 shows, the number of records only about Scotland (6) is roughly half of the number of records which evidence asylum seeking and refugee children in the UK (13).  This may be because any evidence focusing on children and young people specifically is likely to be considering the UK level policy in relation to Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) or children at risk as a focus of UK refugee resettlement vulnerability criteria and the reserved policy of family reunion.

Table 25: The number of children and family reunion records regarding the geographical scope

Dedicated to children and family reunion 
In Scotland In the UK  Total
6 13 19

The research method used for producing evidence about children and young people is mostly either mixed method (8 records) or qualitative method (7 records).  Only 3 records using quantitative methods have been identified.

Table 26: The number of children and family reunion records regarding the research method

Method Quantity
Mixed method 8
Literature review  1
Qualitative method 7
Quantitative methods  3
Total 19

Poverty and destitution 

Poverty and destitution is not one of the seven themes in the New Scots refugee integration strategy, but in the course of searching for evidence on asylum seeker and refugee integration, 17 sources of evidence dedicated to poverty and destitution have been found, or 10% of total sources.  This makes it clear that poverty and destitution are significant issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

As Table 27 and Chart 11 show, a further 6 records relating to integration as a whole were found which contain evidence relating to poverty and destitution experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, accounting for 3% of overall records.  This means that 13% of evidence sources found included consideration of poverty and destitution among refugees and asylum seekers.

Table 27: Share of dedicated or integrated records evidencing poverty and destitution

Dedicated poverty and destitution  Poverty and destitution in integrated records Total records
17 6 174

Chart 11: Share of poverty and destitution evidence

Chart 11: Share of poverty and destitution evidence

As Table 28 shows, eight records are dedicated to refugees and asylum seeker’s poverty and destitution only in Scotland while nine other sources dedicated to refugees and asylum seekers’ poverty and destitution provide evidence on Scotland as part of the UK.  Of the six integrated records providing evidence relating to poverty and destitution, only one is entirely focused on Scotland.

Table 28:  The number of poverty and destitution records regarding the geographical scope

Dedicated to poverty and destitution Poverty and destitution in integrated records
Scotland UK  Total Scotland UK  Total
8 9 17 1 5 6

Table 29 shows that poverty and destitution is a distinct area where most of the sources used quantitative or mixed methods rather than qualitative and mixed.  This indicates that quantifiable data is gathered in this area, for example, the number of people seeking support because of the effects of poverty and destitution.

Table 29: The number of poverty and destitution records regarding the research method

Method Dedicated Integrated Total
Mixed methods 5 5 10
Literature review 0 0 0
Qualitative methods 2 0 2
Quantitative methods 10 1 11
Total 17 6 23

Contact

Email: scotlandsrefugeestrategy@gov.scot