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Guidance for the Refugee Community

Refugees and people seeking asylum (including refused applicants) are allowed to volunteer. The Home Office recognises volunteering as a purposeful activity and that it provides opportunities for integration into Scottish life and culture. There are many different types of volunteering activity that you can do in Glasgow. Speak with Volunteer Glasgow to discover what is right for you.

Good reasons to volunteer

  • Make new friends and feel part of a community
  • Improve your spoken English
  • Gain work experience (to help you find paid work later)
  • Get references
  • Learn new skills and receive training
  • Become more confident in yourself
  • By helping others, you will feel good about it

Having good, spoken English will give you more choices of volunteering activity. Even with little English there is some volunteering you can do.

What to do next

  • Search for volunteering opportunities, or…
  • Drop in to our city-centre office to use our public access computers to search for opportunities with guidance from our advisers

If you need help with translation, please bring along someone who can interpret for you. Alternatively, we may be able to access an interpreter for you.

Other questions answered

  • Do I get money? Volunteering is not paid work. Many organisations will pay your expenses, for example bus fares and the cost of lunch.
  • Who can I volunteer with? You can volunteer with any charity, community group, voluntary or public sector organisation. You cannot ‘volunteer’ for a business or company who make a profit. This is likely to breach employment law.
  • Will this affect any money I currently receive? No. If you are a refugee this should not affect your welfare benefits but click here for details. If you are an asylum seeker on NASS Section 95 Asylum Support or Section 4 support it will not affect your payments.
  • What about disclosure checks? Disclosure (criminal record) checks are required for some roles working with vulnerable children or adults. Disclosure Scotland are able to issue all levels of disclosure certificates, including PVG (protecting vulnerable groups), to asylum seekers and refugees.  A disclosure check only applies to the time you have lived in the UK. There is no contact made with anyone in your home country. You can use your Application Registration Card (ARC card), Biometric Residence Permit Card (BRP) or Convention Travel Document as official photo ID for disclosure applications.
  • What does the UK Government’s Home Office say about asylum-seekers volunteering? The Home Office allows people to volunteer.  The latest – detailed – Home Office guidance is available here (see page 14 – link to GOV.UK download)

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