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New Scots strategy to welcome refugees

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Strategy will help refugees integrate

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers have helped develop a new strategy to support those seeking safety in Scotland.

The New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy, endorsed by the United Nations’ Refugee Agency, sets out a vision for how Scotland can welcome and support people to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive.

The strategy commits to better services such as education, housing, health and employment and aims to help people settle, become part of the community, share their skills and pursue their ambitions.

More than 700 refugees and asylum seekers were part of 2,000 people involved in the development of the strategy.

Angela Constance, secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, said that for refugees leaving home is not a choice, it is a necessity and they need understanding.

“New Scots recognises the strength, knowledge and skills that refugees bring to our country and I am proud that Scotland has become home to people from all over the world seeking safety,” she said.

“As refugees and asylum seekers rebuild their lives here they help to make Scotland stronger, more compassionate and a more successful nation.”

Councillor Kelly Perry, CoSLA, said it had the backing of Scotland’s local authorities.

He said: “Since the first strategy was published the global context has changed in ways we could not have expected and Scottish councils have been at the heart of our response to this.

“Councils across Scotland have resettled thousands through the Syrian Resettlement Programme and the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme and helped communities welcome their new neighbours.

“It is a testament to this work that so many asylum seekers and refugees joined in reviewing this integration strategy to ensure the voice of experience is central to changing things for the better.”

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council added: “At the end of the day these refugees will be our neighbours, our colleagues and our customers.

“We don’t want them to live in poverty, we want them to prosper and be proud of their own identities, proud of being Scottish, proud of being new Scots.”