Refugees and asylum seekers coming to Scotland want more help to learn English, a new report has found.
There will also be a fresh emphasis on helping asylum seekers and refugees integrate after the strategy found a desire among arrivals to become a part of local communities.
I am proud that Scotland has become home to people from all over the world seeking safety.Communities Secretary Angela Constance
The document, entitled New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy, was compiled with the help of 700 refugees and asylum seekers and aims to improve the experience of those rebuilding their lives in Scotland
It emerged over the festive period that Scotland has already met a target to take in more than 2,000 Syrian refugees from the worn-torn country three years ahead of schedule.
The strategy found there were “consistent appeals” from these groups for help to improve their English skills.
“For many, this is to enable them to find employment or pursue further education,” the report states.
“It also enables people to understand essential information about housing, healthcare and other services.
“Being able to communicate confidently with people, including neighbours, shop workers or members of a local community group, helps people to feel settled, build connections and be involved in their local area.”
Ministers are now to look at any barriers to offering English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications and ways to overcome this.
Concerns over feelings of “isolation” and the desire of refugees and asylum seekers to integrate with Scots in their new communities are also set out in the report.
There are also concerns that “negative” media reports can stoke up fears among local communities about asylum seekers.
Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: “For refugees, leaving home is not a choice, it is a necessity, and they need understanding, support and hope for their future when they settle in a new country.
“New Scots recognises the strength, knowledge and skills that refugees bring to our country and I am proud that Scotland has become home to people from all over the world seeking safety.
“As refugees and asylum seekers rebuild their lives here, they help to make Scotland stronger, more compassionate and a more successful nation.”