New research reveals how refugees experience poverty in Scotland

18 October 2010

New research reveals how refugees experience poverty in Scotland

NEW research conducted by the Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University for Scottish Refugee Council has revealed that poverty remains a major problem for asylum seekers who gain refugee status.

The research comes on the back of International Day for Eradication of Poverty (October 17) and shows that refugees face more barriers than others in getting out of poverty.

Researchers interviewed refugees living in Scotland and found that:

  • All were struggling with low income
  • Most had difficulty finding a job, as their skills or qualifications were not recognised
  • Many sent money to support family in their country of origin despite having very little themselves
  • Many experienced social isolation and a lack of social support

Scottish Refugee Council believes changes could be made to the system to help tackle poverty among refugees, including introducing the right to work for people who are going through the asylum process. This would help people to keep their skills and confidence levels up and prepare them for the workplace if refugee status was granted.

Kate Lindsay, report author and research fellow from the Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Refugees are not passive recipients of what they are offered by society, but are resourceful and creative in seeking solutions to the barriers they face.

"However the routes that refugees have to get out poverty appear to be narrower than they are for others."

Gareth Mulvey, Research Coordinator at Scottish Refugee Council, said: ‘We are becoming more aware of the hardships people face as they go through the asylum system in the UK. This report shows that the journey doesn’t end once someone receives refugee status.’

Refugees’ Experiences and Views of Poverty in Scotland (October 2010) was written by Kate Lindsay, Morag Gillespie and Louise Dobbie from the Scottish Poverty Information Unit (Glasgow Caledonian University) on behalf of Scottish Refugee Council.

The report is available to download from

For more information go to


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