Human Trafficking & Exploitation

Humanitarian Protection

EU Exit


Hong Kong Welcome Hub

Scotland's Demographics

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

Gypsy/Traveller Work

Asylum Dispersal

Dispersal is the process by which the Home Office moves destitute asylum seekers to specified local authority areas across the UK. They are first moved to initial accommodation while their application for asylum support is processed. Once the application has been processed and approved they are moved on to dispersal accommodation.

Glasgow is the largest dispersal area in Scotland and currently supports c.5,000 asylum seekers. COSLA has worked closely with Glasgow City Council to support their approach to dispersal over a number of years. There is also a number of Emergency Initial Accommodation Asylum hotels across Scotland which are managed by Mears. 

COSLA works with the councils and other statutory services on a day to day basis to seek to manage the impacts of dispersal and initial accommodation hotels in the local authority areas and is also heavily involved in more strategic work that takes place with a range of partners, including the Home Office and their contractors, both at a Scottish and UK level.

There are a number of structures in place that COSLA run and contribute too that oversees asylum dispersal in Scotland, these include a tripartite Partnership Board, chaired by Glasgow City Council and involving the Home Office and their contractors.  COSLA actively supports the work of the Partnership Board.

Asylum Seekers do not have recourse to public funds and in general are not allowed to work (there are a few exceptions to this). Destitute asylum seekers should receive support from the Home Office whilst their claim is being processed. For guidance on local authorities responsibilities for those with no recourse to public funds please see COSLA guidance here.

The Asylum Support Appeals Project provides useful resources on the asylum process:

Scottish Refugee Council provide a service for destitute asylum seekers.