Andrea Vukovic (Asylum Matters)
New Destitution Report launched in Scotland

 From Pillar to Post: Destitution Among People Refused Asylum in Scotland

The Destitute Asylum Seeker Service (DASS) Partnership, co-ordinated by the Refugee Survival Trust, Scottish Refugee Council, and others have published a report ‘From Pillar to Post,’ looking at destitution among people refused asylum in Scotland. The report explores the severe impact of destitution on people’s ability to survive, access the support and services they need as well as pinpointing the high risk and the reality of suffering exploitation. Home Office figures suggest there could be as many as 1000 people in Scotland who have been refused asylum and are at risk of destitution. People in this situation are not allowed to work and are not eligible for any mainstream benefits including state provided accommodation. Research participants explained how they struggled to feed themselves and stay warm. Some reported that they walked miles every day despite poor health to reach doctors and lawyers appointments in different parts of the city. Several women described the exploitative relationships they found themselves in as a result of having nowhere safe to sleep at night.

The report calls for urgent action to make sure people’s basic needs for food and shelter are met and recommends a number of additional practical steps that would make a huge difference to people’s lives, including allowing people to continue with their education and providing concessionary travel to allow people to attend important appointments. You can find the report here with news piece and case studies here and coverage led by BBC Scotland here (5.25m approx.) and here (20m approx.) as well as in the Scotsman here.