Summary of Recommendations and Observations
Recommendation 1: Scottish Government is invited to consider whether there is a need to provide an exemption for others coming to the UK from Afghanistan who are not covered by the Home Office resettlement schemes.
Recommendation 2: Scottish Government is invited to clarify how it plans to evidence eligibility requirements, other than habitual residence and past presence tests, in order to enable people covered by these Regulations to access payments quickly, in line with the policy goal.
Observation 1: We note that the needs of refugees, such as for language support, may have a particular bearing on Social Security Charter expectations including those on adapting processes and ways of communication, independent advocacy provision for disabled people, and ensuring staff understand the needs of different people and the barriers they face so that no-one experiences discrimination.
Observation 2: Social Security Scotland may in some cases be well-placed to play a facilitative role when it comes to referring refugees to wider support and wrap-around services, consistent with Charter expectations on referring people to other organisations, services or forms of help and working with other organisations to ensure services and policy are joined up.
Observation 3: Scottish Government may wish to consider if and how the experience of refugees in accessing devolved Social Security could contribute to progressing the outcomes of the New Scot Refugee Integration strategy 2018-2022 and the development of future strategy for refugees and how this is integrated into delivery plans.