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Asylum seekers are being refused services, says Scottish Association of Social Work and UNISON

Vulnerable asylum seekers in Scotland are not getting the services they are entitled to because of the lack of support, advice and resources available to the social workers responsible for assisting them.


On Monday the 6th of November, the Scottish Association of Social Work and UNISON have launched a guide, titled, 'Refuge and Asylum in Scotland: Social work support, a human right not an administrative burden', to help fill this gap in knowledge and provide social workers at all levels with information and legal advice on the services that those seeking asylum in Scotland need.


Amongst those being refused support are - concerningly - children. Many arrive unaccompanied, often through illegal trafficking, whilst others come with their families or through government relocation schemes. All require varying degrees of support. 


The guidance, written by SASW Member and UNISON Scotland activist Colin Turbett, seeks to update and support asylum seeking families in Scotland - a very complex and previously ambiguous area of practice that has become increasingly prevalent across the country. It will provide social workers with confidence and clarity and will be a valuable resource for negotiating with employers to ensure that the right resources and training are put in place. 


Tim Parkinson, Professional Office SASW, said: "It's really important that social workers at all levels are fully informed about relevant legislation and people's rights in all situations. They have a responsibility in their code of practice and professional ethics, to make the right professional decisions and to work with their employers to enable people's rights and entitlements". 


Stephen Smellie, Convener of UNISON social work committee, said: "It is increasingly common for social workers to have to intervene in the lives of asylum seekers and their children, who have come to this country from devastated area of the world. For many social workers around Scotland this is a new and complex legal framework and it can be distressing to try and get the support particularly vulnerable children need, only to be denied vital support". 


The guide is focused on asylum seekers and refugees from Syria who are being relocated in Scotland and migrants from EU countries. 


SASW is involved in the development of further work and a campaign around this issue, and one of our members, who also represents us at BASW's IAT (Immigration, Asylum seekers and Trafficking) group, play's a lead role in driving this forward. 


Click here for access to the guidance.