Refugee integration - role of local authorities: research

Research commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore and assess the role of Scotland’s 32 local authorities in supporting the integration of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Appendix E

Refugee Integration in Scotland: Lived experience topic guide

Introduction to the research

My name is [x], I’m a researcher with IPPR/IPPR Scotland, an independent research charity. We’ve been asked by Scottish Government and COSLA to evaluate refugee integration programmes in Scotland, and to write a research report that will contribute to the development of the next New Scots Strategy, which sets out an approach to support the vision of a welcoming Scotland.

We’re interested in understanding the experiences of refugees themselves, as we think that in order to understand what’s working well, and what could be improved, we need to speak to people who have moved to Scotland via a refugee resettlement programme. We think that by better understanding your experiences, any difficulties you have experienced, and hearing your ideas about what needs to change, we can do a better job of supporting refugee integration in Scotland.

First of all, I want to say a very warm thank you for agreeing to talk with me today – your perspective will be really valuable in shaping our research. I wanted to start by just going over a few things. Most importantly, we can stop the interview at any time, and if you’re uncomfortable at any point please do let me know and we can pause or take a break. There’s also no pressure to share anything you’re not comfortable sharing.

  • Explain the conversation will last up to an hour in length.
  • Provide reassurances that findings will be anonymous.
  • The interview will be confidential – unless you tell us something.
  • All data collected will be held securely.
  • There are no right or wrong answers.

Do you have any questions you would like to ask before we start?

Are you comfortable with me recording our conversation? [Start recording if yes].

Opening question

1. First of all, would you mind telling me a bit about yourself?

  • name
  • age
  • location
  • year of arrival in Scotland
  • scheme under which they arrived
  • family makeup and which family members (if any) are here in Scotland with them

2. Are you currently in education or employment? Please can you tell me about your course/work?

  • How important is this course/work to feeling settled/rebuilding your life in Scotland?
  • (If not in education) Are you in the process of looking for educational opportunities and if so, are you being supported in any way?

Experiences of integration support

3. Think back to when you first arrived in Scotland, what were the main services and organisations which supported you? How did you come to be involved with them?

  • Local council
  • Charities and community groups
  • Informal support (Neighbours / local diaspora)
  • Health / education / other

4. [If not already discussed] What support did you receive from the local council? How would you describe the quality of this support?

  • In what areas did you receive help: health/wellbeing; welfare/employment; education/language; housing, etc.

5. [If not already discussed] What support did you receive from neighbours/local community? How important was this for feeling settled?

6. [Refer back to the services and organisations mentioned] Can you tell me what it was like to receive support from the services and organisations that you’ve mentioned?

  • Unpack how the participant was supported by the service(s) or organisation(s).

7. Did you feel that you were supported in the way that you (and your family) needed when you first arrived?

  • Unpack whether there were any differences in how individuals in the family experienced support.
  • Was it difficult to access support? If so, how?

8. What were your expectations of how life would be in Scotland before you moved here? How far would you say that your experiences of integration support matched up with what you expected prior to your arrival?

  • How adequate has the support you have received been for you and different family members?

9. Overall has your experience in Scotland so far been a positive or negative one?

  • What do you think of the local community you live in?
  • Do you feel welcome and supported by your neighbours and local community?

Exploring challenges

10. Did you experience any particular challenges or difficulties in your efforts to settle and rebuild your life in Scotland?

  • What was the impact of these on you (and your family)?
  • How, if at all, were these resolved?

Exploring successes

11. What (or who) would you say has made the single biggest positive difference to your experience of settling and rebuilding your life in Scotland? Why was their help so crucial?

  • What lessons do you think could be learned from this for others? Do you think other people would benefit from a similar kind of support?

Suggestions for practice and policy

12. Looking back, is there anything else that could have supported you to settle and integrate in Scotland when you first came to the country?

  • Are there ways you would have liked being treated differently by organisations or the community around you?

13. This research is intended to influence the next New Scots Strategy in Scotland. The New Scots Strategy is a plan created by the Scottish Government to try and make sure refugees and asylum seekers who come to Scotland are welcomed and helped to integrate into society and become a full member of Scottish society. What do you think that strategy should include/emphasise?

  • (e.g. good housing; help with English; employability etc.)
  • What would you say to people who have power to make decisions about refugee integration support in Scotland? How can they best support refugees to settle and rebuild their lives in Scotland

What would be the most important changes they can make to improve the current system? What needs most improvement?

Closing question

14. What is your hope for your future in Scotland?

  • Do you intend to stay in the area or would you like to move elsewhere/return home eventually?

15. Is there anything else that you would like to add that you feel you’ve not been able to say?



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