The UK immigration services have suspended plans to send applicants for some Home Office services in Scotland south to Liverpool.
Reports from the Scottish Sunday Herald had indicated that asylum seekers seeking help in Scotland would, from January 26 onwards, have been required to travel to Liverpool if they wanted help. However, it looks like this won't be the case after the paper revealed that the government had received legal challenges prompting it to change its decision.
But while there have been no immediate changes made, the Home Office failed to issue reassurance that it wouldn't still be a possibility in future.
Gary Christie, head of policy at the Scottish Refugee Council, spoke to the Herald about the issue, stating that the government needs to put plans in place to allow refugees to use the existing immigration office in Glasgow for their applications.
He added: “This policy presents a huge obstacle for people who are trying to receive a fair hearing on their claim for refugee protection. No expenses or support is provided to help people, who are often destitute and vulnerable, make this journey.
“Scottish Refugee Council and other charities in Glasgow regularly have to use our own overstretched resources.”
Meanwhile, MSP Alex Neil called upon Home Secretary Theresa May to ensure that the changes are “not just delayed but scrapped”.
The issue of UK visas and immigration policy changes in Scotland and England made headlines during the vote on Scottish Independence when it the different requirements from each nation became clear. It was thought that if the country had voted 'Yes' then a much more liberal and open immigration policy could have been implemented north of the border in comparison to the current regime governed from Westminster.