Scottish 'welcome plan' for refugees unveiled

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Refugees in Scotland are to be given more help to learn English and find employment once they are eligible, as part of a Scottish government strategy.

New Scots: Integrating Refugees in Scotland's Communities aims to ensure public services work together to help refugees from the day they arrive.

Minister for External Affairs Humza Yousaf said Scotland's approach was different to the rest of the UK.

He has previously claimed UK policies were damaging the Scottish economy.

Mr Yousaf said the Scottish government's strategy would "enable people to integrate, and to help communities to be more welcoming".

He said: "Whether it's enrolling in English lessons, finding work once they are eligible or joining in with their local communities, refugees and asylum seekers who come to Scotland need help to rebuild their lives and to make a full contribution to society.

"Scotland does things differently from the rest of the UK; here we welcome asylum seekers, recognise the skills they bring and the contribution they can make to our society, and make an effort to help them to integrate with the rest of the community."

In May, the UK government put immigration at the centre of proposed new laws in the Queen's Speech.

Its proposed immigration bill would force short-term migrants to pay for NHS care, compel landlords to check the immigration status of tenants and ensure that illegal immigrants could not get driving licences.

Last month, the Scottish government outlined immigration proposals in its referendum White Paper.

It said under an independent Scotland, it would pursue a very different immigration approach to that of Westminster, and would set up a Scottish Asylum Agency.

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