Asylum seekers

Asylum seekers

This chapter sets out what the local authority would need to consider when a person who is seeking asylum or has become ‘appeal rights exhausted’ (ARE) following the refusal of their claim, requests assistance. It also sets out the rules regarding responsibility for providing support and whether this lies with the local authority or Home Office. 

Currently Glasgow is the only asylum dispersal area in Scotland, although talks are ongoing with regards to widening dispersal across the country. Serco is currently contracted by the Home Office to manage asylum support accommodation in Scotland. Mears will be taking over the contract as of September 2019. Migrant Help provide support and advice to asylum seekers through the current related contract and also will continue to deliver this through the AIRE Home Office contract from September 2019. 

There may be asylum seekers living in alternative accommodation in Scotland and it is possible for them to be supported by the Home Office on a subsistence only basis.

Key points

  • Responsibility for providing accommodation and financial support to asylum seeking families or individuals will depend on the status of their asylum claim and whether they would be eligible for Home Office asylum support under section 4, section 95 or section 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • The Home Office is responsible for providing accommodation and financial support to asylum seeking families, including when the parent’s claim is unsuccessful and they are ‘appeal rights exhausted’ (ARE). 
  • Local authorities may be responsible for providing accommodation and financial support to asylum seeking adults with care needs who require residential accommodation, and to some ARE asylum seekers who are assessed as having community care needs. Care packages and other assistance may need to be provided to adults with care needs who are accommodated by the Home Office.
  • Although the Home Office should, in the first instance, provide emergency support, where there are delays in accessing this and a family or vulnerable adult has no alternative funds or housing available, it may fall to the local authority to provide accommodation and financial support to people seeking asylum, so a GIRFEC or community care assessment will need to be carried out in order to determine eligibility under section 22 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and sections 12 or 13A of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. 
  • There are no restrictions on providing social care services to a child within an asylum-seeking family, for example, to meet any needs arising from a disability.