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SCOTTISH SECRETARY MEETS KOSOVAR REFUGEES IN RENFREW

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Scottish secretary John Reid this week met Kosovar refugee families staying in a refugee reception centre in Renfre...
Scottish secretary John Reid this week met Kosovar refugee families staying in a refugee reception centre in Renfrewshire. Fifty-six Kosovars are currently being accommodated in Blythswood House in Renfrew as part of a United Kingdom commitment to provide sanctuary for vulnerable refugees from camps in Macedonia.

Dr Reid said: 'The response of local authorities, voluntary workers, medical services and many others involved in bringing Kosovar refugees to Scotland has been magnificent. Many organisations have pulled together to make the families feel welcome in Scotland and I pay tribute to the work of everyone involved.

'Our hope is that the prospect of peace will enable the refugees to return to their homes as soon as their safety can be guaranteed and they have the confidence to return. Until then our priority is to help these families through this difficult time. I am confident that the Scottish people will continue to extend a warm hand of friendship by welcoming them into their local communities.'

Scotland is playing a full part in the United Kingdom commitment to take Kosovar refugees from camps in Macedonia, under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Humanitarian Evacuation Programme. There are currently around 300 refugees in Scotland being accommodated in reception centres in Glasgow, Renfrew and North Berwick. Arrangements are being made to identify longer term accommodation for the refugees.

The Kosovar refugees have special refugee status and have leave to stay in the UK initially for one year. This will be kept under review. They are entitled to state benefits. Adults will be able to take paid employment. Local authorities have made provision for the education of the children. Home secretary Jack Straw has confirmed that the additional costs incurred by the local authorities and the voluntary sector will be reimbursed.
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