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MSPs take views on support for destitute asylum seekers

25 January 2017

Ways in which Scottish public services can help asylum seekers facing destitution are to be investigated by Holyrood’s Equalities & Human Rights Committee.

In a call for evidence the MSPs are asking for views on what more can be done to tackle the issue. In later sessions they will consider both best practice and where gaps exist in the policies and responses of Scottish public authorities when faced with destitute asylum seekers.

The British Red Cross estimates that 700 people presented as destitute in Glasgow in 2015. It is a problem particularly seen amongst asylum seekers because insecure immigration status can be seen to limit the support provided by public bodies.

Support organisations as well as those with experience of destitution while going through the asylum process are encouraged to submit their views, including on how and where destitute asylum seekers find food and shelter, what practical support is most helpful, the main barriers to providing support to destitute asylum seekers, and how processes for assessing a person’s eligibility for services might be improved.

Committee convener Christina McKelvie MSP commented: “Nobody doubts the great harm that destitution can have on an individual or family. This committee wants to find out the practical changes that could be made, and what other support can be found so there is a better outlook for asylum seekers who come to this country for sanctuary but end up destitute and vulnerable to exploitation.”

Click here to access the call for evidence. The deadline for submissions is 6pm on 8 March 2017. 

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