Foreword

Scotland is enriched by the diversity of its communities and benefits significantly from the contribution that migrants and their families make to our society, economy and local areas. Our obligations to promote and respect human rights extend to every child and adult living in Scotland; as do our commitments to deliver high quality services to all of our communities.

Under successive pieces of UK legislation, basic rights and entitlements to public services have been restricted for people with insecure immigration status. ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ policies in particular have denied some people living in Scotland access to social security, housing and homelessness assistance in times of crisis. This approach disproportionally affects vulnerable people and is at odds with the Scottish Government and Local Government’s aims, including to eradicate child poverty and create a fairer Scotland.

We recognise that there is a need to work more closely together, across our two spheres of government, to support vulnerable people with insecure immigration status and to make sure that they do not become destitute. Local authorities in particular, provide a vital safety net in these circumstances, including to families with children, adults with physical and mental health issues and survivors of domestic abuse. We know that this is a challenging area of service delivery and creates specific pressures for our social services.

The guidance seeks to strengthen understanding of the complex legal frameworks that shape eligibility to support and considers good practice at a time of limited resources. In 2019, we will also work together to develop a national strategy that better supports statutory agencies and our community partners to reduce the risks of destitution among people with no recourse to public funds living in Scotland

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell MSP

COSLA Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, Cllr Kelly Parry