Scotland's (In)hospitality towards migrants: asylum seekers' rights in Scotland

Research output: Contribution to conferenceKeynote


In this paper, I focus on asylum support for asylum seekers in Scotland and discuss what the current situation tells us about Scotland’s (in)hospitality towards migrants and the Scottish Government's positioning as an hospitable outlier against the backdrop of the UK's 'hostile environment'.
Scotland's positioning as an hospitable host:
•'Scotland has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers and recognises it is a human right to be able to seek asylum in another country' (Scottish Government website).
•'We believe that refugees and asylum seekers should be welcomed, supported and integrated into our communities from day one' (The New Scots refugee integration strategy 2018-2022).

The Scottish Government and Scottish local authorities have embraced hospitality as a defining and distinctive Scottish trait destined to shape their policy towards migrants, including asylum seekers:
•The New Scots refugee integration strategy 2018-2022 sets out a 'vision for a welcoming Scotland where refugees and asylum seekers are able to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive'.
•Ending Destitution Together - A Strategy to Improve Support for People with No Recourse to Public Funds Living in Scotland 2021-2024 => 'No one is forced into destitution and everyone has their human rights protected, regardless of their immigration status.'

In Scotland and elsewhere in the UK and the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has made matters worse for migrants in already precarious situations, with very tragic circumstances in some instances. For example, on the 26th of June 2020, Badreddin Abadlla Adam was shot dead by the police after he stabbed six persons in the incident at the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow City centre. Mr Abadlla Adam and other asylum seekers had been moved by Mears, the accommodation provider - to closed hotels because of the Covid-19 restrictions. The move took place notwithstanding repeated concerns expressed by the Scottish Refugee Council and others about the use of hotel for people in the asylum system.
However, whilst the pandemic has made matters worse, it has not created the problems with the UK asylum system. Deep concerns about destitution, inadequate accommodation and homelessness predates the pandemic. The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing problems, but the problem with the UK asylum system cannot be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021
EventScotland's (In)hospitality Towards Migrants: Asylum Seekers' Rights in Scotland - Legal Services Agency (LSA) , Glasgow
Duration: 6 Dec 20216 Dec 2021


SeminarScotland's (In)hospitality Towards Migrants


  • asylum policy
  • asylum seekers' rights
  • asylum support system
  • Scotland


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