‘Integration’ is a word often used to mean different things by different people.

We follow the principles for integration set out in the Scottish Government’s New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2018-2022.  The strategy sets out a vision for a welcoming Scotland where refugees and asylum seekers are able to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive.

The New Scots strategy sees integration as a long-term, dynamic, two-way process, involving positive change in both individuals and host communities, which leads to cohesive, diverse communities. It underlines the shared responsibility, privilege and joy of both New Scots and receiving communities in playing an equal role in building strong, resilient and multi-cultural communities. 

New Scots is a common term used to describe refugees and people seeking asylum who are rebuilding their lives in Scotland. 

Integration can be measured by indicators (Employment, Housing, Health, Education, Social connections (‘bonds’, ‘bridges’ and ‘links’), Language and cultural knowledge, Digital Skills, Leisure, Safety and stability and Rights), which can identify areas for particular development for individuals and communities.

The five principles that underpin the New Scots strategy are:

  • Integration from day one
  • A rights based approach
  • Refugee involvement
  • Inclusive communities
  • Partnership and collaboration

We are involved in four areas of work to support refugee integration in Scotland:

  • The Edinburgh Weekend Club is a multi-faith programme of events for refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants to Scotland’s capital.  Gatherings are family-friendly and a chance to make connections, practice English and explore different parts of the city. The Edinburgh Weekend Club was set-up by Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees in 2017. Since 2021 it is led by the local Edinburgh faith-based charity Edinburgh City Mission. We are now working to duplicate this model in other parts of Scotland. 
  • We are running a Speaking Programme for faith groups in Scotland.  Our experienced and knowledgeable speakers are able to travel to your community or hold online events and introduce topics around refugee issues and integration. We provide this service free of charge.
  • New Scots Holidays is a pilot project we developed with the Scottish Refugee Council from 2018-2020, part funded by the European Union.  This programme enables local faith communities to host refugee families or individuals in their homes for a short holiday, offering hospitality and friendship. After a successful pilot we are now able to offer advice to faith groups to set up a programme like this locally.
  • We continue to offer advice, support and training to local churches and faith groups who would like to get involved in supporting refugee integration at a local level. Find out more here.