Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals
5. Engaging with migrants
5.3 Providing information
When migrants arrive in an area they require access to good quality information that will support them to access appropriate services and begin to build a new life. In all cases information should be:
- written in plain language, using graphics where appropriate.
- accessible, clear, understandable and relevant.
- available in appropriate formats and languages.
5.3.1 Welcome Packs
One of the key tools to enable migrants to integrate into an area is a Welcome Pack. This pack should provide basic introductory information about understanding the law and rights, accessing services, registering with a GP etc. You should be aware that written information can go out of date quite quickly, and that it might be better to develop an online resource that is easily accessible and clearly signposted (for example, using flyers placed in key locations). Local libraries could play a key role in providing access to online resources for migrants who do not have access to the Internet.
If you are planning to develop a Welcome Pack, you might want to look at this useful guide that was produced for English and Welsh local authorities by the former Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA).
If you are producing a Welcome Pack, you will need to ensure that packs are distributed as widely as possible and in key locations, for example, GP surgeries, Job Centres, libraries etc. The Welcome Pack should also be available online.
A number of local authorities in Scotland have produced good Welcome Packs – such as Fife. In addition, this welcome pack for migrants in the North East of Scotland is available online in a number of different languages. Here is a good example of an information portal for migrants living in Northern Ireland.
NHS Tayside has recently launched this App - Money Worries? Crisis Help!
The App is designed for people who are affected by welfare benefit cuts, or other money worries. The content was developed by NHS Tayside Public Health staff to help reduce the negative health effects of welfare reform. The App will be promoted by Angus Council, as part of the annual roadshows that they organise for migrants working in farms in Angus.
5.3.2 Wider Information
Migrants may also need specific information about how to access services, or to help them to understand their rights.
NHS Scotland also provide information about patient rights and responsibilities when accessing NHS services. This information is available in a number of languages, in both written and audio format. Click here to find out more.
Police Scotland and the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service have been working with asylum and refugee groups in Glasgow. As part of this they have been giving talks on the law, and explaining where people might inadvertently break the law, due to lack of awareness of the law in Scotland. As a result of these roadshows, the Lord Advocate has committed to producing a simple information booklet for asylum seekers and refugees (in different languages) about the ‘dos and don’ts’ in relation to the law in Scotland. If successful, this might be rolled out to cover the wider migrant population.
Since 2007, Angus Council has been co-ordinating annual roadshows for migrant workers in Angus. A number of community planning partners also support and attend the roadshows, including Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Tayside, Dundee and Angus College, Women’s Aid and representatives from the Drugs and Alcohol Partnership. The roadshows are usually hosted by farms in Angus, where many migrants are employed as seasonal workers. Farmers often put on a BBQ, as this helps to encourage workers to come along.
The roadshows provide a useful forum for migrants to access information, including welcome packs, to find out about local services, and to raise any issues or concerns that they might have.
Service providers also benefit, as they get an idea of how many people are staying in the local area, how long they might be staying for, and how this might impact on demand for services in particular areas.
5.3.3 Web based resources
There are a number of websites that provide information for migrants who have either moved to, or are planning to move to Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s information portal Scotland.org provides a wide range of information and guidance about Scotland for people who are thinking about moving to Scotland.
TalentScotland, an initiative supported by Scottish Enterprise, promotes Scotland as a place to live and work. It provides information about moving to and living in Scotland, including links to information about visas and immigration, industries and employers in Scotland as well as job opportunities.
The Scottish Migrants Network is a network of organisations, community groups and statutory bodies that works nationally to focus on issues around migration in Scotland. Their focus is on providing information and raising awareness on migrants’ rights, particularly in relation to employment.
There are also examples of migrant groups who have developed their own social media resources and magazines. One example is the Polish website emito.net. Resources like this can provide a very useful platform for getting information out to particular communities.