Refugees get more support to come to Scotland

Refugee family

Fund will offer financial support before benefits are claimed 

9th May 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Refugees can access financial support for family members before they are reunited in Scotland as part of a new fund launched this week.

Up to £100,000 in Family Reunion Crisis Grants from the Scottish Government will bridge the gap for new arrivals before they can be assessed for benefits entitlement.

The grants provide assistance with initial living costs as well as essential items, such as beds, for those arriving in Scotland under family reunion rules.  

Phil Arnold, head of refugee support for the British Red Cross said: “By introducing grants for newly reunited families, we can make sure they face a more certain future together, and remove the risk of refugee families falling into destitution or homelessness.  

“Families with children are especially more likely to experience problems because of the longer time it takes to process Child Tax Credit compared with other benefits and because they usually need to move to larger accommodation.

“This is a real risk and it is particularly concerning because they place additional strain on reuniting families at a critical time recovering from their individual and collective ordeals.”

Equalities secretary Angela Constance said too many people arriving in Scotland under family reunion arrangements are forced to start their new life in abject poverty because they cannot apply for support until they arrive here.

She added: “When you consider that these people have been separated from their families, have fled their home – often under threats of violence and death – that is not acceptable.

“Scotland is a welcoming country and we want everyone who chooses it as their new home to be able to do so with a sense of safety, security and hope for their future here.”

Hadgu was separated from his family for three and a half years before they arrived in Scotland in March 2018. He said: “Nothing makes me happier than to be reunited with my wife Helen and my three daughters. The Red Cross have been great supporting me with crisis grants and have been helping me find new accommodation as we’re now over crowded in our small flat.”