New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy
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Councillor Maureen Chalmers, COSLA Spokesperson for Communities and Wellbeing, has commented on the release of the Third New Scots strategy Strategic Framework.

"In 2013, COSLA together with the Scottish Refugee Council and the Scottish Government drafted a policy that would shape Scotland’s approach to refugees. That first New Scots integration framework (2014-7) enabled the Scottish response to the 2015 European refugee crisis, where every single local authority in Scotland welcomed Syrian refugees. Scotland’s welcome of refugees, and the New Scots strategy, were praised worldwide recognising a commitment to a rights-based and welcoming approach.

The second New Scots strategy (2018-22) drew on learning and best practices from the previous strategy and set out an ambitious vision for a nationwide approach to integration.  That vision, and the partnership, was confronted with a series of crises: COVID-19, the arrival of Ukrainians displaced by another Russian invasion, the emergency evacuation of Afghanistan, and the ongoing economic crisis. Through all this, Scottish local authorities and the people of Scotland continued to extend support to refugees.

From 2021 to 2023, local authorities used European Union funding to support a range of pilot projects and study what works and what doesn’t when planning integration. It was an opportunity to rethink the New Scots strategy to reflect a changed world. That process of research, consultation, and rewriting has been thorough.

Today I am pleased that, along with our partners Scottish Government and Scottish Refugee Council, we are publishing the first part of the third New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy, the strategic framework. This framework is built on the latest research, on years of consultations with refugees and people seeking asylum, those who support them, and on discussions across the partnership: how can Scotland continue to offer the best possible welcome to people who have been forced to flee their countries?

It sets out six clear principles that give structure and strength to the Scottish welcome for refugees:

  • Integration from day one of arrival
  • A rights-based approach
  • Restorative and trauma-informed
  • Involvement of people with lived experience of forced displacement
  • Inclusive, intercultural communities
  • Partnership and collaboration

The second part of the New Scots Framework, the Delivery Plan, will be published in June 2024."

Read the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy here.