Thursday, September 13, 2007

Scottish Parliament Get Positive About Refugees

Top marks to the Scottish Parliament for showing their support for refugees and asylum seekers! A very encouraging debate was held by the Scottish Parliament last week that showed a commitment to both child protection and the integration of asylum seekers into Scotland.

A very encouraging debate was held by the Scottish Parliament last week that showed a commitment to both child protection and the integration of asylum seekers into Scotland.

The motion called for asylum seekers to be granted the right to work whilst seeking asylum. This was backed by the Scottish Refugee Council which stated “It just makes absolutely no sense to have people sitting at home in enforced idleness when they could be contributing to the economy”. MP Sarah White (SNP) argued that the money generated for the local economy by allowing asylum seekers to work would far outweigh the cost of benefits. She also pointed out that granting asylum seekers the right to work would help to alleviate the skills shortages in many professions, arguing that hundreds of doctors, nurses and dentists are unable to seek work

White also called for an amnesty for asylum seekers who had been in the country since before March 2006, arguing that they had become valued members of Scottish communities. This amnesty would grant 1500 families automatic asylum in Scotland. Finally she asked that children be given full rights to education and for and end to the detention of children and their families, particularly in reference to Dungavel House. The removal centre recently made the front page of Scottish newspaper The Herald, revealing that asylum seeking children were being held alongside “hardened criminals”.

All parties participated in the discussion, recognizing the positive impact that asylum seekers have in Scotland. Speakers were keen to see improved protection and to further integrate asylum seekers into communities. With support from all parties, Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell, promised to pursue matters with the Home Office.

Posted by STAR team on 13/09/2007 at 01:48 PM