Young asylum seekers unable to access free bus scheme

13 January 2022

SCOTLAND’s free bus travel scheme for young people has come under criticism after asylum seekers found it impossible to access because of the proof requested.

Concerns were raised after a question on an online forum, asking about applying for the new free bus pass for under 21s. However, the charity Positive Action in Housing said the application process does not recognise the Home Office-issued application registration card (ARC) which is given to people who claim asylum, and does not explain how people without passports, driving licences or other acceptable forms of identification, can apply online. 

Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing said:

“The Improvement Service are accountable for the National Entitlement Card (NEC) scheme and the online application process. Apparently, the free bus pass system was not trialled or consulted upon and this has resulted in a discriminatory two tier system affecting asylum seekers disproportionately to the point that they cannot apply online. People are very upset about what they refer to as second class treatment. We have therefore written to the Improvement Service to ask them to include additional proofs, in particular the Arc card and the immigration bail letter which has a bar code identifying asylum seekers. We understand that every asylum seeker has one or both of these.”

Asylum seekers have a right to equal access and that means being able to apply online the same as everyone else.

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