Press office

Our press office can supply information and comments on refugee and asylum issues and arrange interviews with spokespeople from across the organisation.

We work within a network of support agencies and community groups and can help put you in touch with others in the sector where relevant, including spokespeople from refugee communities on a case by case basis.

Contact us

Media direct line: 07597012042


Email us to be added to our press release list.

Stay informed

Keep up-to-date with our latest news, or sign up to get our monthly newsletter to your inbox. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Student journalists

We are very sorry but we are currently unable to support student journalists’ requests for interviews or comment. We value the important contribution student journalists make in reporting refugee issues and hope that we will be able to work with students again at a later date. In the meantime, please see links below for further sources of info.


Resources, information and media trainings for new Scots who are interested in speaking with the media.


FAQs for journalists

Can you help me to arrange an interview with a refugee?

Scottish Refugee Council are regularly approached by journalists looking to speak with people with lived experience of the asylum system or journey.

We work within a network of support agencies and community groups and can help put you in touch with others in the sector where relevant, including spokespeople from refugee communities on a case by case basis.

Please give as much notice as possible when requesting to speak to people with lived experience, whether through us or one of our partner agencies/community groups. It takes a lot for people to share their story or image publicly and requires a bit of behind-the-scenes work.

We encourage interviewers to:

  • think about what the benefit is for the individual who would be sharing their story
  • share questions in advance so that prospective interviewees can prepare
  • be mindful that people should not be expected to recount traumatic journeys or experiences if they don’t want to
  • take time to get to know people who are willing to share their story
  • offer a voucher as a thank you


Whilst many people will feel comfortable sharing their name in the media, remember that people are in a precarious situation and their story could be read in the country they fled from, putting themselves or other members of their family at risk. Please think about whether your story can be anonymised for people’s safety.

Please respect that individuals can change their mind at any time, and can say no without giving a reason.

Our Scottish Guardianship Service and Communications team have put together a checklist for journalists looking to engage with young people.

Any interview with someone under 18 requires the permission of a parent or guardian. For unaccompanied-asylum-seeking children in Scotland this will be their social worker.

Can this be anonymous?

Are you happy to avoid asking the young person why they can’t be in their home country?

Do you need a photo? If so, can it be a silhouette?

Can the guardian/another person sit in on the interview?

Reminder that the interview can be terminated at any time – please be aware of that

Can you turn off comments on any online publication of the piece?

Can you send over the young person’s quotes prior to publication?

How should I refer to people seeking safety in the UK - refugee? asylum seeker?

These terms are often interchanged. At Scottish Refugee Council, we use the word “refugee” to cover all groups seeking safety in Scotland. This includes:

  • people in the asylum system
  • people who have been refused asylum
  • people who hold refugee status in any form
  • people who have been resettled
  • people who have been brought to the UK through humanitarian evacuation

Instead of focusing on a person’s immigration status, we recommend focusing on the person themselves. For example, instead of using “asylum seekers”, use “people seeking asylum”, “people in need of safety”, “people fleeing war and persecution”, or even just “people/men/women/children”.

Is it relevant to mention their immigration status at all? If not, check with the individual how they would like to define themselves. For example, instead of “refugee artist”, they might prefer to just be known as “artist”.

Remember that refugee communities are culturally diverse and not homogenous. One person or group cannot represent everyone.

Are people fleeing Ukraine classed as refugees?

The UK Government are deliberately avoiding referring to people fleeing Ukraine as refugees and trying to manage refugees coming to the UK through its visa/ immigration system. This is enabling them to treat Ukrainians differently from people fleeing other crises, and it creates a hierarchy between different groups of people fleeing war and persecution based on nationality.

But yes, people fleeing Ukraine have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war, will receive some form of status and access to public funds, and will be able to access support from Scottish Refugee Council.

Please note that the Ukrainian community, as with many communities, may not be comfortable with “refugee” terminology.

How many people are fleeing Ukraine?

How many people are fleeing Ukraine?

UNHCR have the most up-to-date figures on the war against Ukraine.

How is the UK supporting people fleeing Ukraine?

We have put together some information for people in Scotland who are affected by the situation in Ukraine, and for people who want to find out how they can help.

Read more here

How does the UN Refugee Convention say that countries should protect refugees?

As signatories to the UN Refugee Convention, countries are bound by Article 33, which prohibits any State from returning a refugee to territories where their life or freedom is at risk because of  their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. This requires governments to assess peoples’ claim for asylum through an asylum system. Integration in the country of asylum is seen as one of  three ‘durable solutions’ for refugees.

Governments also commit to support refugees through resettlement, which is recognised as another durable solution (the third is voluntary return)

Temporary protection may be granted in exceptional circumstances involving a mass influx displaced people fleeing an emergency situation. In these conditions, it’s not practical or possible to process individual claims for refugee protection because of the time and evidence required to do a full and fair evaluation. Under these circumstances, it may be necessary to provide all members of a large group with a generalised form of protection until they are able to enter a regular asylum process. In March 2022, the EU adopted the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time in response to refugee flows from Ukraine.  

What is the difference between the legal statuses of ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’?

A person seeking protection in the UK is classed as an ‘asylum seeker’ until the Home Office makes a decision on their asylum claim. This process can take many months, or even years. People waiting for decisions currently do not have the right to work, access the welfare system, or access mainstream housing.

If the Home Office makes a positive decision on an asylum claim, a person will be granted ‘refugee status’ and leave to remain in the UK. Currently, having refugee status means having five years of leave to remain in the UK. After a person has held refugee status for five years, they may then apply for ‘indefinite leave to remain’. After one year of indefinite leave to remain, an application for British citizenship can be made .

It is always worth remembering that ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ are administrative categories that are applied to people. These categories do not define a person’s identity.

What is 'resettlement'?

Resettlement is the selection and transfer of refugees, most often in tandem with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), from a state in which they have sought protection, to a third country that admits them – as refugees – with a permanent residence status. It is an expression of solidarity with the countries that host the majority of the world’s refugees, which are often among the world’s poorest. It also offers a ‘durable solution’ for refugees alongside local integration and voluntary return.

While we welcome any UK Government commitment to a resettlement programme, it’s important that these schemes don’t overshadow or replace the importance of protecting the precious human right of claiming asylum.

The majority of men, women and children forced to flee their homes because of war, persecution or human rights abuses, do so at short notice and by any means possible. Most will not be able to access resettlement schemes.

SRC has called on the UK Government to commit to a long-term programme of resettling 10,000 people from around the world who are seeking safety every year.

Recently, the UK government has introduced ‘bespoke’ schemes such as the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or the British National (Overseas) visa scheme for Hong Kong Nationals. These do not provide the same rights as refugee resettlement schemes and should not be seen as a replacement for resettlement.

Is seeking asylum legal?

Yes. Everyone has the right to seek asylum in another country if their life is in danger in the home country. This right is enshrined in the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees

Article 31 clearly states that refugees seeking sanctuary should not face penalties for entering, or being present in, a country without authorisation, provided that they:

  • are coming from a country or territory where their life or freedom was threatened
  • present themselves to the domestic authorities without delay
  • can show good cause for their presence

The UK is a signatory to the Convention.

How many people seeking asylum are in the UK?

The Home Office website details the numbers of asylum claims made in the UK and is updated on a quarterly basis. In the year ending March 2024 there were 69,298 asylum applications in the UK.

62% of the initial decisions in the year ending March 2024 were grants (of asylum, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave). 

How many people seeking asylum are there in Scotland?

As a rule of thumb, around 10% of people seeking asylum in the UK are dispersed to Scotland. In December 2023, there were 5,847 people in Scotland receiving asylum support.

How many people are displaced globally?

The latest figures available from the UNHCR estimate that 117.3 million people were displaced across the world at the end of 2023.

37.6 million of these people were refugees, under the UNHCR’s mandate.

Why do people seek asylum?

Seeking asylum means seeking safety. Most people seek safety in a third country when their lives and/or their families’ lives are in danger in their home countries.

What proportion of asylum claims are successful?

In the year ending December 2023, there were 74,172 initial decisions made on asylum applications. 67% of these were positive decisions resulting in grants of asylum, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave.


Where in Scotland do people seeking asylum live?

The highest proportion of UK government provided housing is in Glasgow, however people seeking protection have been allocated accommodation all over Scotland.

What support are people seeking asylum entitled to in Scotland?

Before a decision is made on a person’s asylum claim, support is very limited.

The Home Office currently states that each person is given £45 per week, which is loaded onto a debit card (what’s referred to as the ASPEN card). However, many people seeking asylum were moved into institutional accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic and were no longer entitled to this allowance.  People in this accommodation are given £9.10 per week.

What do we mean by institutional accommodation?

By institutional accommodation, we mean the use of places like barracks or hotel rooms to house people seeking protection. This is instead of placing people in flats or houses within local communities.

When people seeking safety are given accommodation within local communities, it is much easier for them to make friends, settle in and have a degree of  control over their own lives.

How do people seeking asylum reach Scotland?

People seeking asylum are mainly ‘dispersed’ to Scotland by the Home Office from south east England.

How many people seeking safety are in Scotland as a result of resettlement programmes?

Around 3,000 people were resettled in council areas across Scotland through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. The scheme opened in January 2014 and is now closed to new arrivals.

Which parts of Scotland are part of the resettlement scheme?

People who came to Scotland via the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme were dispersed across all of Scotland’s local authority areas.

CoSLA performs a coordination role between Scottish local authorities and the Home Office to identify suitable resettlement locations for families and individuals based on their needs and circumstances. All of Scotland’s councils are supportive of the scheme.

What are the main nationalities of people seeking protection in Scotland/the UK?

Most people seeking safety are from countries affected by civil wars, terrorism and where human rights violations are widespread. According to Home Office statistics, the top ten countries of origin for people seeking protection in the UK in the year ending March 2024 were:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Iran
  3. Pakistan
  4. Eritrea
  5. India
  6. Turkey
  7. Sudan
  8. Bangladesh
  9. Syria
  10. Vietnam

In regards to calls to our helpline, the top ten nationalities getting in touch with us are (as of December 2023):

  1. Ukraine
  2. Iran
  3. Iraq
  4. Syria
  5. Sudan
  6. Afghanistan
  7. Eritrea
  8. Nigeria
  9. Pakistan
  10. Nigeria

In regards to our integration services, the top nationalities among our referrals (as of December 2023) are:

  1. Iran
  2. Syria
  3. Sudan
  4. Iraq
  5. Ukraine
  6. Eritrea
  7. El Salvador
  8. Nigeria
  9. Vietnam
  10. Afghanistan

What is Scottish Refugee Council's response to the UK Government's Nationality and Borders Bill?

Scottish Refugee Council is deeply concerned by the UK Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill. You can find out more about why we are opposed to this legislation and what we’re doing to help mitigate against the worst impacts of this cruel Bill here.


How are refugees impacted by the cost of living crisis?

We’re very worried about the impact the cost of living crisis is having on the people we work with. Information about levels of asylum support, Universal Credit and rising costs of essentials is below.

Current levels of asylum support

For people in flats: £45 a week

For people in hotels: £9.10 a week

Scottish Refugee Council is calling for these rates to be increased to:

  • £84.12 per week for people living in dispersal accommodation (usually flats in towns and cities)
  • £44.08 per week for people living in asylum accommodation where food is provided

Universal Credit

Important to note that the cost of living crisis is affecting people in SRC’s integration service who may have refugee status and be on UC

Standard rates

Single under 25: £265.31 per month

Single over 25: £334.91 per month

Living with partner under 25: £416.45 (for both people)

Living with partner over 25: £525.72 (for both people)


Consumer prices, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), were 8.6% higher in September 2022 than a year before

Inflation changes month by month – as of mid Sep 22, around 9%

What prices have gone up? The below shows percentage increase in 12 months to July 2022


Low-fat milk 34.0%
Butter 27.1%
Pasta and couscous 24.4%
Margarine and other vegetable fats 22.5%
Cheese 17.9%
Ready-made meals 16.0%
Potatoes 15.7%
Eggs 14.6%
Yoghurt 14.2%
Fish 12.8%
Bread 11.0%
Fruit 8.5%
Rice 6.7%

Electricity, gas and other fuels

Liquid fuels 114.1%
Gas 95.7%
Electricity 54.0%
Solid fuels 26.9%

Clothing and shoes

Clothing accessories 7.7%
Garments for men 7.4%
Garments for infants and children 7.4%
Footwear for infants and children 7.3%
Garments for women 6.4%
Footwear for women 5.5%
Footwear for men 3.9%

Passenger transport
By train 9.8%
By underground and tram 5.1%
By bus and coach 3.8%

Hospitality and recreation

Holiday centres, camping sites and youth hostels 25.5%
Cinemas, theatres and concerts 14.0%
Fast food and takeaway food services 10.3%
Restaurants and cafes 7.5%
Canteens 6.3%
Museums, libraries and zoos 5.0%