New Scottish refugee integration strategy launched

A new strategy has been developed with the help of more than 700 asylum seekers and refugees to help them settle into communities across Scotland.

The main aims on the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy, which has been endorsed by the United Nations Refugee Agency, are to provide education, housing, healthcare and employment. It also aims to help refugees settle into the community and share their skills.

The strategy was developed collaboratively by the Scottish Government, COSLA and the Scottish Refugee Council.

Angela Constance, cabinet secretary for communities, social security and equalities, told BBC Scotland: “For refugees, leaving home is not a choice - it is a necessity - and they need understanding, support and hope for their future when they settle in a new country.

“As refugees and asylum seekers rebuild their lives here they help to make Scotland stronger, more compassionate and a more successful nation.”

A key policy of the new strategy is to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers understand their rights and options, and receive any welfare benefits they are entitled to.

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “The new Scots who live and work alongside us bring a wealth of experience and talent to Scotland and the new strategy will help us unlock and develop that potential.

“At the end of the day these refugees will be our neighbours, our colleagues and our customers. We don’t want them to live in poverty, we want them to prosper and be proud of their own identities, proud of being Scottish, proud of being new Scots.”

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