RST has participated in the national policy debate on asylum in Scotland and the UK. It has had significant success in bringing about changes in procedures affecting refugees and people seeking asylum. Examples are:
- Providing UKBA (now UK Home Office) with evidence on the destitution of new mothers living on Section 4 support which contributed to UKBA introducing one-off maternity grants of £250 for new mothers.
- Working with Job Centre Plus to encourage them to establish a dedicated team of trained benefits caseworkers equipped to work with refugees. This team dramatically reduced the number of destitute people awaiting mainstream benefits until autumn 2010 when it was disbanded.
- Encouraging the Scottish Government to fund work to support refugees into employment.
We will continue to oppose the UK Government’s Nationality & Borders Bill, based on the need to protect fundamental human rights aligned to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (EHCR) 1950, and the 1951 Convention guaranteeing refugees’ human rights and its 1967 protocol. We are extremely concerned that this bill will have a devastating impact on the people we support, potentially pushing more people in Scotland into destitution.
We will continue to collaborate and campaign to influence positive asylum policy change.