English lessons, help to apply for work and funding for Refugee Festival Scotland, will all be given a boost in a bid to ensure refugees and asylum seekers are supported to make their new communities their home as part of a refreshed New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy.
Around a third of the funding will go towards English language teaching and employability programmes.
The Scottish Government said the recent arrival of people from Afghanistan and Ukraine has reinforced the “critical importance of employment” in allowing people to rebuild their lives safely and securely thereby reducing the risk of poverty.
The funding will also pay for small grants for organisations to host engagement events for existing and recently arrived refugees, as well as the extension of University of Glasgow’s international research into New Scots integration for Afghan and Ukrainian Nationals.
Scottish Refugee Council chief executive Sabir Zazi said: “Successful, well integrated communities need support, both for the individuals seeking safety in Scotland and the local areas receiving them. We’re particularly pleased to see funding in place to boost English language support and to help people back into employment.
"These are two areas that are crucial to integration, both for the individuals and families affected and the communities receiving them.”
The strategy, which has been endorsed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, aims to allow people to start rebuilding their lives from the day they arrive in Scotland.
External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson said: “Scotland has a long history of welcoming people of all nationalities and faiths, including those seeking refuge from war and persecution. While continuing to support all refugees and people seeking asylum, in recent years we have seen two large scale resettlement efforts from Afghanistan and Ukraine, with over 20,000 displaced people from Ukraine alone arriving in Scotland since February 2022 and we have had to move quickly to get people the support they need to settle into their new communities.
“The Scottish Government and our New Scots partners are committed to supporting the integration of refugees and people seeking asylum into our communities and providing the safety and security they need as they begin to rebuild their lives. Our compassionate approach to support refugees and people seeking asylum living in Scotland is clear and this vital funding will ensure work can continue to refresh the New Scots strategy to take account of the significant changes in recent years and ensure any key learning is reflected.”
Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow, said: “At this critical time for those who have sought refuge and asylum in Scotland the successful securing of extended funds for ESOL and Employability projects is greatly needed.
"This builds on the success of the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy as a world leading internationally acclaimed partnership, built on human rights that allows us to make confident steps towards the launch, by the New Scots Partnership, of a refreshed New Scots strategy.”