This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Asylum seekers denied social work services

This news post is over 6 years old

Social workers aren't adequately trained to deal with asylum seekers

Asylum seekers are lacking vital help because of poor support for the social workers caring for them.

And when social workers request services for asylum seekers they are often, wrongly, denied.

This is in part a problem with the way social workers are trained, two unions have claimed.

Unison Scotland has now launched a legal guide, alongside the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW), outlining that these services are a human right not an administrative burden.

The trade union says that because many asylum seekers do not have national insurance credentials, they live below the radar and beyond the reach of statutory services.

It means unkown numbers of children children are also losing out for their families fear of authority.

Stephen Smellie, convener of Unison’s social work committee said: "It is increasingly common for social workers across Scotland to have to intervene in the lives of asylum seekers and their children, who have come to this country from devastated areas of the world.

“For many social workers this is complex legal framework which is new to them. It can be distressing to be caring for such vulnerable children who are denied the vital support they need.

"The guide we are launching today provides general guidance, signposts and more detailed information sources. It will give social workers more confidence that they are doing the right thing, especially for vulnerable asylum seeker children.

“It will be a useful tool for negotiating with employers to ensure that the right resources are put in place, including awareness training and staffing."

The guide is focused on asylum seekers, refugees from Syria who are being relocated in Scotland and migrants from EU countries, who face uncertainties as well as increases in racism and hate crime.

Emily Galloway, communications and policy officer at SASW, said: "This guidance seeks to update and support social workers at all levels on how to support asylum seeking families in Scotland - a very complex and previously ambiguous area of practice that has become increasingly prevalent across the country"

"It's really important that our social workers are fully informed about relevant legislation and people rights in all situations.

“They have a responsibility in their codes of practice and professional ethics, to make the right professional decisions and also to work with their employers to enable people's rights and entitlements."