New poll finds warm attitudes towards refugees in Scotland

A new survey shows an increase in positive attitudes towards people seeking refugee protection in Scotland.

The poll, carried out in March 2019 by Survation, found more than two thirds of people in Scotland feel empathy for refugees, with 69 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement ‘refugees are ordinary people just like us’.

The poll shows increasing support for diversity in Scotland with 44 per cent of people agreeing that the arrival of new refugee communities makes Scotland a more vibrant place to live. This figure rises to 57 per cent among 18-24 year olds.

Overall, the survey shows that most people feel Scotland has done well to support refugees, with 61 per cent of respondents believing that charities in Scotland are doing a good job of supporting people seeking safety here. In general, people believe the Scottish Government (58 per cent) and local authorities (52 per cent) are doing a good job of supporting refugees.

Forty per cent of people questioned believe Scotland should continue to welcome the same number of people seeking protection as it currently does, with over 25 per cent saying we should welcome more refugees. 

The poll comes ahead of this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland, which runs from June 20 – 30. The festival is Scotland’s only annual arts and culture event dedicated to highlighting the talents of people who have come here seeking refugee protection. More than 100 events will take place across Scotland over the course of ten days in June (20 – 30). From Syrian food to Ethiopian poetry, football to dance, visual art and family days, the festival has something for everyone.

Scottish Refugee Council’s Chief Executive, Sabir Zazai said:

“These findings match my own experience of life in Scotland and I see examples of friendliness and solidarity towards newcomers every day.

“This survey doesn’t suggest that life is perfect here or that people don’t have problems or experience racism. But friendliness and a sense of welcome is definitely a feature of life in Scotland and can make a real difference to people at a very difficult time in their lives.”

The poll was commissioned by Scottish Refugee Council to measure current attitudes towards refugees in Scotland. The charity is currently running a Scotland-wide programme to support community integration across the country, called New Scots Rights and Communities. This project is part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.