Refugee integration programme to be refreshed with £1.6m investment

The funding will allow the Scottish Government 'to take account of the changes of the past few years'.

Refugee integration programme to be refreshed with £1.6m Scottish Government investment iStock

A £1.6m investment into refreshing the country’s refugee integration strategy has been announced by the Scottish Government.

The New Scots refugee integration strategy was announced in 2018, with a lifespan that was due to end last year.

External affairs secretary Angus Robertson said the funding will allow the Scottish Government to take account of the changes of the past few years – including displacement caused by the withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Robertson said: “Scotland has a long history of welcoming people of all nationalities and faiths, including those seeking refuge from war and persecution.

“While continuing to support all refugees and people seeking asylum, in recent years we have seen two large-scale resettlement efforts from Afghanistan and Ukraine – with over 20,000 displaced people from Ukraine alone arriving in Scotland since February 2022 – and we have had to move quickly to get people the support they need to settle into their new communities.

“The Scottish Government and our New Scots partners are committed to supporting the integration of refugees and people seeking asylum into our communities and providing the safety and security they need as they begin to rebuild their lives.

“Our compassionate approach to support refugees and people seeking asylum living in Scotland is clear and this vital funding will ensure work can continue to refresh the New Scots strategy to take account of the significant changes in recent years and ensure any key learning is reflected.”

The funding will allow for public engagement events to be held across the country to understand the needs of refugees currently in Scotland.

Further funding will also support the extension of refugee integration research by Glasgow University, the staging of a refugee festival, and £500,000 to support employability and teaching English to recently arrived refugees.

Scottish Refugee Council chief executive Sabir Zazi said: “Successful, well-integrated communities need support, both for the individuals seeking safety in Scotland and the local areas receiving them.

“We’re particularly pleased to see funding in place to boost English language support and to help people back into employment.

“These are two areas that are crucial to integration, both for the individuals and families affected and the communities receiving them.”