Volunteering: Frequently Asked Questions

Our volunteers give their time freely to support every single team and department across Scottish Refugee Council. We are very grateful for their contribution, which increases our capacity to work with refugees and people seeking asylum.

We believe in offering meaningful placements for our volunteers to gain new skills and connections. We are especially committed to creating volunteering opportunities for refugees and people at all stages of the asylum process.

By volunteering with us, you can get involved in interesting areas of work alongside dynamic team members, access training and development opportunities, gain first-hand understanding of the UK work environment and ultimately, make a positive difference in people’s lives. We will provide the training you will need to carry out your volunteer role, and reimburse your travel and lunch expenses, so that you will not be out of pocket.

We also work with charities and public sector organisations who would like involve refugee volunteers in their work. Our monthly Volunteering Information Afternoons bring refugees and volunteer involving organisations together in a sociable, informal environment where our volunteering team is at hand to offer support and answer questions.

  • What is volunteering? keyboard_arrow_right
    Volunteering is giving some of your time, skills and experience, by choice, without expecting payment in return. Volunteering covers a wide range of activities that benefit or support others in the community. By giving their time freely, our volunteers increase our capacity to work with refugees and people seeking asylum. We will provide the training you will need to carry out your volunteer role, and reimburse your travel and lunch expenses, so that you will not be out of pocket.
  • Volunteering with us is a worthwhile experience with many benefits such as:

    • Working with dynamic team members in interesting areas of work
    • Taking part in team meetings, staff conferences and members’ events
    • Training and other learning opportunities
    • Developing existing and new skills
    • Making a positive difference in people’s lives
    • Gaining references for future employment
    • Gaining a first-hand understanding of UK work culture
    • Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as travel and lunch.

  • Yes. Your knowledge and experience are very welcome here. If you have applied for refugee status, you are legally allowed to volunteer.

    The Home Office states that “asylum seekers can volunteer whilst their claim is considered without being granted permission to work. It is Home Office policy to support asylum seekers volunteering for charities or public sector organisations” (Permission to work and volunteering for asylum seekers Version 12.0, Published for Home Office staff on 28 October 2022). Download the Home Office policy on asylum seekers and volunteering.

  • Yes. People at all stages of the asylum process can volunteer, even if your asylum application has been refused by the Home Office, and your appeal against the decision was unsuccessful. The Home Office policy on asylum seekers and volunteering states that “volunteering can be undertaken at any stage of the asylum process.”
  • Yes. If you have Refugee Status, Humanitarian Protection, Discretionary or Indefinite Leave to Remain, you are allowed to  volunteer.
  • Yes. You will gain skills and experience volunteering with us. Volunteering will not affect your state benefits, but you must still make yourself available for work, and inform the Job Centre of your volunteering activities. You can volunteer for as many hours as you want and still claim social security benefits if the only money you get from volunteering is to cover expenses (like travel costs), and you continue to meet the conditions of the benefits you get.

    In fact, volunteering activity (including travelling to and from volunteering and training events) can constitute 17.5 hours of the 35 hours a week of meaningful activity required by your Claimant Commitment at the Job Centre. Download the DWP guidance on volunteering while on benefits (PDF doc, 230 kb)

  • All our volunteer roles will be advertised on our website during recruitmnt periods – you can find any current roles here and here.

    You can also contact us to find out what roles we are currently trying to fill.

    Once you have found a role that is of interest, you should complete an application form which will be available when we recruit and then send it (online, by post or in person) by the specified closing date. Please note that we do not accept CVs.

  • In most cases, we ask that volunteers commit to two half-days or one full-day per week for at least a six month period. You will be able to select the days and hours that work best for you.
    Before Covid restrictions, the majority of our volunteering activity took place in Glasgow between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday. At the moment we have a mix of volunteer roles that are remote, hybrid or office-based. We will keep reviewing this according to government guidelines and our support requirements.
  • Which roles can I apply for? keyboard_arrow_right
    When you complete your application form you will be able to specify which type of role(s) you are interested in. You can apply for up to three roles on the same application form by writing them down in order of preference.
  • Shortlisting

    After the application deadline, all submitted applications are passed on for shortlisting to the teams who the volunteers will eventually be supporting. The applications are then reviewed to determine who will be shortlisted and invited to a volunteer recruitment session. It is important that you complete all sections of the application.

    Volunteer recruitment and information session – online or in person

    If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to attend a volunteer recruitment session. This may be online or at our offices. You may be invited as part of a group, and take part in discussions and activities.
    Staff from various teams will lead these recruitment session activities, which can include working in small groups and/or an informal interview.
    This session is also an opportunity for you to meet with members of staff and find out more about volunteering with us.


    After the volunteer recruitment session, successful candidates are matched to suitable volunteer roles.
    Please note that we normally have more applicants than roles available. If you are not chosen for the role you applied for, please feel free to apply for our next round of volunteer recruitment. We will also give you guidance about searching for volunteer roles in other refugee sector organisations.

    Volunteer induction and training – online or in person

    Once you have been matched to a suitable role, we will invite you to attend a volunteer induction session. This will include an overview of our organisation and our main policies and procedures. We will also complete some paperwork to formally register you as a volunteer with Scottish Refugee Council.

    All our volunteers are also invited to a training session on working with asylum seekers and refugees. Any team induction or training that may be organised by your respective teams will follow your induction and initial training.

    Our Volunteer Development Coordinators will tell you about your volunteer induction and training days as soon as possible, and your start days will be organised directly by your team leaders.

    Disclosure Scotland

    As you may be required to work with vulnerable people at Scottish Refugee Council, you will need to undergo a Disclosure Scotland check. More details will be provided about the check at the volunteer induction session.

  • Contact us keyboard_arrow_right
    For more information about volunteering email us or call 0141 248 9799.