New guidance to help address asylum seeker destitution

Balloons with words refugees welcome on them

COSLA has launched new guidance on migrants’ rights to services provided by local authorities in Scotland.

Sometimes there has been confusion and uncertainty around what services can and should be provided to those who otherwise can’t access public funds.  This new resource is aimed at helping councils as they seek to support people whose immigration status means they can’t access public funds.

Under the International Convention on Economic and Social Rights, everyone has a right to an adequate standard of living no matter what their immigration status.  The Human Rights Consortium Scotland raised the ongoing destitution of those with insecure immigration status in Scotland recently with the Convention against Torture to inform their review of the UK (see HRCS Submission to UNCAT March 2019)

Under UK-wide rules, people living in the UK with an insecure immigration status are unable to access social security and homelessness assistance, even in times of crisis. Scottish Local Government has a duty to safeguard the most vulnerable people in these situations, in many cases this includes providing financial support to meet essential living costs and other help from social workers to avoid destitution.

Two thirds of households that councils support are likely to eventually be granted leave to remain in the UK with recourse to public funds, meaning that the vast majority of people we support will ultimately be recognised as having the right to remain in the UK.

You can read more about the new COSLA guidance here.




Image credit: Takver, Flickr 

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