Refugee resettlement

Refugee Resettlement

A group of Syrian refugees standing on a beach

Aberdeenshire Council is committed to resettling 30 families per year through:

In addition to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHR) refugee resettlement, Aberdeenshire continues to support displaced people affected by the war in Ukraine though Homes for Ukraine. Find out about how Ukrainians can come to the UK.

The Refugee and Asylum Strategic Group oversees refugee resettlement and asylum dispersal in Aberdeenshire. All of the main sectors are represented, and the group has responsibility for delivering the Aberdeenshire New Scots Integration Strategy.

Who is a refugee

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence.

There are two ways to become a refugee in the UK:

  • To be resettled by the UNHCR and Home Office and arrive with refugee status (funded and supported route)
  • To enter the UK without permission, claim asylum and be granted refugee status if successful

Who is a displaced person

A displaced person is someone who has been expelled, deported, or forced to flee from their country of nationality or habitual residence by the forces or consequences of war or oppression.

This status is applied to Ukrainians in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Visa Scheme. Displaced persons have similar rights as UK citizens but have limited leave to remain based on their visa conditions.

Who is an asylum seeker

An asylum seeker is someone who arrives in the UK and seeks sanctuary from persecution and serious human rights violations. Until they get a decision as to whether or not they will be granted refugee status and temporary leave to remain, they are known as an asylum seeker. In the UK, this means they are allocated asylum housing (or hotel if housing is unavailable), with limited rights and access to services. Asylum seekers have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). Asylum seekers in hotels get £9.10 per week.

Asylum dispersal

Prior to November 2021, Aberdeenshire was not a designated asylum dispersal area so the number of asylum seekers living in north east Scotland was small. The subsequent mandating of asylum dispersal for both unaccompanied minors and adults throughout the UK, has resulted in an increased number of asylum seekers accommodated in properties and hotels across the whole of the UK.

Asylum housing and support is private sector led and delivered via a government contract. The Home Office contracted a company called Mears to provide housing, housing maintenance and care services for asylum seekers. Mears is required to make sure that asylum accommodation is:

  • safe, habitable and fit for purpose
  • meets all contractual and regulatory standards

Although the council has no powers or responsibility for asylum support, the Asylum Oversight Group will work with all partners to mitigate any negative impacts on communities and maximise strengths, goodwill and resilience. There is currently one asylum hotel in Westhill.

Refugee Resettlement Team

Resettlement Officers support families to transition and settle in Aberdeenshire. Integration plans help us to assess key integration needs and progressions including:

  • housing
  • employment
  • education
  • language learning
  • employability
  • financial inclusion
  • social integration
  • health and wellbeing

The purpose of the team is to help and support families to build independence. This is achieved by working with families at home and in the community.

Contact us

For queries about refugee resettlement please email us at

For queries about asylum resettlement and dispersal please email us at