Asylum seekers and refugees

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

As the UK continues to be under a variety of COVID lockdown measures there are significant impacts on the asylum processes and refugee resettlement. 

For all the latest information on COVID in Scotland please visit





Asylum Support and Accommodation

UK Visa and Imigration (UKVI) have restarted their asylum decision making processes. This means many of the interviews and reporting requirements are restarting but service users will be informed as to what they need to do by UKVI. 


As of 29 September 2020 in Scotland UKVI are notifying services users seeking asylum in the UK about their positive decisions (this process started on 11 August in England). 

UKVI has also restarted issuing negative decisions and cessations to some service users in England only. This process has not restarted in Scotland and we have no date as to when this is likely to happen. 



If you or someone you know have received information from UKVI you may be able to get additional advice and support though the following organisations: 


Scottish Refugee Council

Full advice service is provided by phone and access to offices is limited to absolutely essential appointments only. For more information you can visit the SRC website -


You can contact the SRC Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm on:

0141 223 7979 or 0141 223 7984 


British Red Cross

Following the UK Government guidance British Red Cross had to close the Refugee Support operations at Cambridge House. Email: or Call: 0141 331 4170


Destitute Asylum Seeker Service (DASS)

DASS provides casework support, legal advice, emergency shelter and temporary accommodation to assist asylum seekers facing destitution to work towards resolving their situation. Got to for further information


ARC Service Customer Contact

If you have a problem with your Application registration card (ARC) a new method to allow Asylum Applicants to report issues with ARC fulfilment including data accuracy has been launched on Gov.UK For more details visit the UK Government website HERE



The UK Government have produced a number of factsheets in relation to asylum including: 


The use of hotels to house Asylum Seekers


Asylum accommodation applications



Resettlement Settlement FAQs 

On 25/03/2020 The Home Office shared a Frequently Asked Questions document on resettlement to the UK. 


Temporary suspension of resettlement programmes

On 17th of March, resettlement programmes operated in the UK, including the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme, the Vulnerable Children Resettlement Programme and Gateway Programme have been suspended until further notice. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNHCR and IOM released the below statement:

“As countries drastically reduce entry into their territories owing to the COVID-19 global health crisis, and restrictions around international air travel are introduced, travel arrangements for resettling refugees are currently subject to severe disruptions. Some States have also placed a hold on resettlement arrivals given their public health situation, which impacts on their capacity to receive newly resettled refugees.

Refugee families are being directly impacted by these quickly evolving regulations in the course of their travel, with some experiencing extensive delays while others have been stranded or separated from family members.

In addition, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, are concerned that international travel could increase the exposure of refugees to the virus.

As a result, IOM and UNHCR are taking steps to suspend resettlement departures for refugees. This is a temporary measure that will be in place only for as long as it remains essential.

As resettlement remains a life-saving tool for many refugees, UNHCR and IOM are appealing to States, and working in close coordination with them, to ensure that movements can continue for the most critical emergency cases wherever possible. The suspension will begin to take effect within the next few days as the two agencies attempt to bring those refugees who have already cleared all formalities to their intended destinations.

Resettlement provides a vital lifeline for particularly vulnerable refugees, and IOM and UNHCR will continue their work in refugee-hosting countries, in collaboration with all relevant partners, to ensure that the processing of cases for resettlement continues. We will also remain in close contact with refugees themselves and all of the agencies that work to support the use of resettlement as a critical protection measure.

Both agencies look forward to resuming full resettlement travel as soon as prudence and logistics permit.”

The statement was published on UNHCR website. 



NHS Inform COVID-19 treatment and immigration status

NHS inform updated their website to clarify following key messages:

• Covid-19 treatment is free for all and that anyone with symptoms, regardless of their immigration status, should follow the guidance in exactly the same way as those that are ordinarily resident in Scotland.

• Anyone that requires immediate or urgent healthcare in Scotland, not only for Covid-19, will receive it regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay at the time if charges apply.

• Healthcare provision in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government and is in no way linked to immigration control, which is a matter for the Home Office.   NHS Boards in Scotland never pass on patients’ details to the Home Office for the purpose of immigration enforcement.


Useful NHS Inform web links:

Asylum and refugee healthcare

Overseas visitor healthcare 

Coronavirus (Covid-19 page)  (including information in a variety of languages formats)

The website includes advice and information in other languages and formats; as well as linking to guidance on a range of matters, including mental wellbeing, parent club and support for businesses.



updated: 03/11/2020