GLASGOW has more asylum seekers than another other council area in the UK, according to a new study, which also showed that the majority were being housed in disadvantaged local authority areas while dozens of wealthy councils supported none.

The data came from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, which said that Glasgow’s 4019 asylum seekers at the end of June 2019, put it in pole position across the country.

Peter William Walsh, the report’s author, said of the UK’s 45,200 asylum seekers, almost 42,200 were living in dispersed accommodation, which aimed to house them away from London and the South East.

This left the South East and East of England with the lowest percentage of asylum seekers per head of population, both at 0.01%, while the North East of England had the most, at 0.19%.

Scotland’s total share of asylum seekers was 0.7% of our population and 0.6% of resettled refugees, who are identified outside of the UK and brought in with government and United Nations help.

Robina Qureshi, director of the Glasgow-based migrant homelessness charity Positive Action in Housing, said they had witnessed asylum seekers waiting years for decisions on their future.

While Glasgow had welcomed tens of thousands to the city since 2000, when forced dispersal began, people had no choice about where to live and were barred from working.

This meant they could not access support from family or friends already settled here, or stand on their own two feet, which made speedy resettlement even more difficult, and increased their reliance on charity.

“The problems we are seeing is people of working age are reduced to a state of enforced idleness for years at a time, forbidden to work, before they get their papers,” she said.

“Many people awaiting the asylum claims have spent several years living in and out of destitution, at the cost of their mental health, trying to survive daily, instead of focusing on their asylum claim and making something of their lives.

“Eventually, they get leave to remain but why must it take years? People should be allowed to be productive members of their community wherever they are no matter what their status.

“Glasgow has lost millions in taxes because of UK asylum policy.” Qureshi said Glasgow housed almost 5000 asylum seekers, and had embarked on a further 10-year contract to take in thousands more as part of an ongoing programme over the past 19 years.

She said: “The destitution they are facing is because asylum landlords like Serco think it’s okay to turf hundreds of people out of their homes when the Home Office cuts their asylum support.”

The practice was being challenged in the Court of Session and Qureshi said the outcome should be known next week.

“Many people have been forcibly dispersed to Glasgow away from settled family members in other cities,” she said.

“People who have a connection with established family networks elsewhere should be allowed to go there.

“If they were allowed to work while they await their case, they could pay their own way, save some money.

“They could resettle quicker, sort their legal cases with the help of established family and community networks, they don’t need to be reduced to destitution, or rely on the state or charity, they are resourceful enough to build their own lives, if allowed to do so.”