On Wednesday 28th March, in partnership with the Scottish Government and COSLA, we published the first part of the latest New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy.

But what exactly is the strategy? And what will it mean for people seeking protection in Scotland?

Our Senior Partnerships Manager, Elodie Mignard, explains more.

What is the New Scots strategy and why it does it matter?

The strategy is a framework that sets out how Scotland will support all people who need protection to rebuild their lives here. It lays out how we can provide the best support to help people make progress with the things that matter to them.

What area of people’s lives does the strategy affect?

Every area. From learning English, to access to suitable housing, to having your qualifications recognised, the strategy will touch on every area of a person’s life as they settle in Scotland.

What impact will the strategy have ?

We hope that organisations with different responsibilities will come together to make a positive difference for refugees. For example, schools, health boards, local councils, communities, charities all have a role to play in making sure people are welcomed and supported .

There are so many conflicts and crises around the world. It is important that we play our part in providing safety to people forced to flee their homes. In times of crisis, we need the New Scots Strategy to be the framework for the response. We need to build the roadmap for how we work with refugees in Scotland to continue their lives and realise their ambitions and goals.

What is the vision behind it?

The New Scots vision centres around inclusivity, welcoming and recognising what people bring with them – their skills, their experience, their culture. These things are so important and bring so many benefits to Scotland. The key principles behind the strategy are:

  • Support for refugees from the first day of arrival in Scotland. So, this includes people still waiting to hear about their asylum application as well as those with refugee status
  • Putting people’s rights first – and making sure people know their rights and where to find advice and support
  • An awareness of the past trauma and challenges News Scots have experienced
  • Including people with lived experience in planning and implementation
  • Supporting local communities to welcome New Scots
  • Collaborating across various groups: local councils, politicians, charity and grassroots organisations, health boards, schools


How does the strategy differ from the rest of the UK?

Our ethos – the strategy is for ALL New Scots, regardless of their status or the route they took to reach safety. English lessons are accessible to everyone no matter their status. We have a dedicated integration strategy. We don’t want standards to be met, we want them to be raised.

What’s next?

The delivery plan for the strategy has just been published.

The plan includes key actions based on the analysis of community consultation events  which more than 2,000 refugees and people seeking asylum took part in. These were led by refugee-led and refugee assisting organisations across Scotland supported by our Communities Team with funding from Scottish Government. These were facilitated by our Communities Team with funding from Scottish Government.

Read the full strategy here.

Gilly Furmage
Author: Gilly Furmage