Refugees will re­ceive Scot­tish wel­come packs

Rutherglen Reformer - - Gossip Girl - Staff re­porter

South La­nark­shire coun­cil­lors heard last week that a ‘Wel­come to Scot­land’ book­let would be given to Syr­ian refugees that en­ter the country.

Two fam­i­lies are al­ready in Ruther­glen af­ter ar­riv­ing be­fore Christ­mas as part of the UK’s refugee re­set­tle­ment pro­gramme.

They were the first of up to 60 refugees likely to come to the re­gion in the first year of the Syr­ian Vul­ner­a­ble Per­sons Re­set­tle­ment Scheme (SVPRS).

And last week, the coun­cil’s equal op­por­tu­ni­ties fo­rum heard that Po­lice Scot­land, the Crown Of­fice and Procu­ra­tor Fis­cal Ser­vice have been work­ing closely with stu­dents at New Col­lege La­nark­shire to pro­duce a book which will be given to new ar­rivals.

It aims to pro­vide asy­lum seek­ers and refugees liv­ing in Scot­land with a ba­sic guide to the laws which will af­fect their ev­ery­day lives.

The hand­out con­tains de­tails on every­thing from mar­riage laws and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, to laws at the work­place and even con­tains an ad­di­tional se­lec­tion of use­ful phone num­bers at the back to be used if re­quired.

Lord Ad­vo­cate Frank Mul­hol­land has en­dorsed the book­let pro­duced by HND le­gal ser­vices stu­dents and says that the idea was brought to light when he was speak­ing to a refugee com­mu­nity in Glas­gow and was asked where they can find out about the laws.

He said: “Rather than be­ing a for­mal piece of guid­ance is­sued by civil ser­vants, it is a prac­ti­cal, plainEnglish doc­u­ment pre­pared by downto-earth Scots folk giv­ing sen­si­ble, prac­ti­cal ad­vice on Scot­land and its laws to those com­ing to our country for the first time.

“Ad­just­ing to life in a new country can be an anx­ious and con­fus­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and guid­ance on the cus­toms and laws of the land is not al­ways eas­ily avail­able.

“This guide is an ex­am­ple of the good work be­ing done through­out Scot­land to elim­i­nate dis­crim­i­na­tion and to fos­ter in­clu­siv­ity of all peo­ple whether they have been here for years or have just ar­rived in the last few days.”

The guide will be trans­lated in sev­eral lan­guages and dis­trib­uted by the Crown Of­fice to refugees en­ter­ing the country.

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