Appendix K - Refugee and Asylum Seekers

K1          Definitions and legal position

K1.1    A ‘refugee’ is someone whose application for asylum in the UK has been successful(38).  A refugee will have the right to work and claim benefits (or, in the case of students, apply for student support) in the same way as UK citizens.

An ‘asylum seeker’ is someone who has sought asylum but whose application has not yet been accepted.  Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in the UK, but they may do voluntary work.  Some asylum seekers who are students may be entitled to assistance with tuition fees but are not entitled to student loans for living costs(39).

K1.2    Neither Refugee nor Asylum Seeker status is included as a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010.  Nevertheless, the University of Glasgow recognises the difficulties such groups face and will endeavour to support asylum seekers and those with refugee status within the University community.  The University further recognises that the reasons for seeking asylum are likely to include reasons relating to one or more of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

K2          Supporting infrastructure

K2.1    Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet) is an initiative of the University of Glasgow working internationally, and across Scotland and the UK to build on the extensive expertise relating to migration, refugees and asylum, and with a particular interest in aspects of community cohesion.  GRAMNet is a member of the Scottish Refugee Council.

K2.2    The University is a member of the UK Universities Network of the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics. The aim of the Network is to facilitate co-operation and collaboration between UK higher education institutions in support of refugee and threatened academics and in defence and promotion of academic and university freedoms worldwide. 

K2.3    The University supports Glasgow Student Action for Refugees (STAR).  STAR works to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers through volunteering, fundraising and campaigning.

K2.4    The University works in partnership with the Bridges Programme to provide work shadowing opportunities to asylum seekers and refugees(40).

K3          Further information and contacts

K3.1       On Campus

University Refugee and Asylum Seekers Champion

GRAMNet (webpage includes links to a range of other relevant information sources)

Glasgow Student Action for Refugees

K3.2       External

Council for Assisting Refugee Academics
UK Universities Network representative:  Professor Alison Phipps

Scottish Refugee Council

Bridges Programme

(38) Under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of Refugees, a refugee is someone who is outside of his or her country, and unable to be protected by that country owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.  Source:  Scottish Refugee Council.

(39) SAAS Guides.

(40) For further information please contact the Equality and Diversity Unit