The Scottish Government’s scheme to provide free bus travel to under 22’s has been a strong success. However there has been delays, including anyone applying for their Young Scot or National Entitlement Card using a paper form. I raised these delays with the Transport Minister today, as well as the specific issues   faced by refugees and asylum seekers under 22 applying for the card.

Anyone locally who has an issue then please do get in touch with my office.


Full text of question

I commend Glasgow Life for recognising the application registration card—the ARC—to address the barriers that are faced by refugees and asylum seekers who are under 22 and who have struggled to provide age identification evidence in order to secure a national entitlement card for free bus travel.

However, the Red Cross has informed me that some local authorities do not accept the ARC and that it is not listed in national or local guidance. Will the minister look at that matter, to ensure that guidance is updated and best practice is shared across Scotland? More widely, will she also look at the lengthy waits, often of several months, for paper applications to be processed?

The Home Office has issued guidance for local councils, advising them on the proof that is specific to asylum seekers and refugees for the ARC, to which Bob Doris has alluded. That can be used to apply for the NEC in person, of course, or in conjunction with other information or evidence that might be available to a council, a school or a dedicated staff member within a council.

The ARC is not accepted for online applications as part of the United Kingdom proof of age standards scheme—PASS. It cannot be used as evidence of identification online, and there is no online equivalent to support applications, as it were.

My officials in Transport Scotland are not aware of any delays in application processing, but, if the member is able to provide evidence of that, I would be more than happy to raise the issue directly with Glasgow Life.

It is also worth pointing out that the Government is supporting a short-term pilot, led by the Refugee Survival Trust and third sector partners, which commenced at the end of January.

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