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Scotland ready to welcome Syrian refugees

Published: 5 Nov 2015 13:33

Taskforce meets ahead of first arrivals.

Scotland is expected to receive around one third of the total number of Syrian refugees due to arrive in the UK before Christmas, Humza Yousaf has announced.

The refugee taskforce set up to co-ordinate Scotland's practical response to the humanitarian crisis met today ahead of the first arrivals.

Mr Yousaf, who chairs the meeting, has offered to visit local authorities expected to receive refugees to discuss their arrangements and preparations, and engage with local communities on the importance of their role in the integration process.

Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf said:

"Scotland's response to the humanitarian crisis has been phenomenal and we have been working to ensure we provide a very warm welcome to those who come to Scotland seeking protection, safety and security.

"Of the refugees expected to arrive in the UK before Christmas, Scotland is expected to take around one third, and this is testament to the work of the taskforce, local authorities and many other partner organisations to ensure we are ready – and we are ready. It is a great symbol of our compassion that Scotland is expected to take a third of refugees arriving before Christmas, while making up only 10 per cent of the UK population.

"I realise that local authorities have already gone to great lengths to prepare themselves but I will be looking to visit them to discuss their arrangements and offer them support and advice if they feel it beneficial.

"It has been heart-warming and inspiring to see the positive reaction from people all over Scotland and local communities will play a crucial role in the integration of these refugees. We cannot underestimate the importance of local engagement in response to what is an international crisis.

"Scotland is a caring and compassionate country and we have worked with our partners to provide a welcoming environment for those refugees.

"Areas such as local government, housing, health services, language support, transport and social services are crucial to this, and the taskforce has worked to ensure these services are ready."