ASYLUM seekers in Scotland may soon be granted free bus travel after MSPs backed proposals to improve the lives of those within the asylum system.

In a report published on Tuesday, Holyrood’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee called on the Scottish Parliament to sanction concessionary bus travel after hearing evidence about the tough choices many asylum seekers are faced with.

For example, one asylum seeker said that they were forced to choose between eating and buying medicine while surviving on UK Government benefits.

Employment law currently forbids people seeking asylum from working in the UK.

As such, asylum seekers are reliant upon a small amount of money from the government to survive.

People living in uncatered accommodation receive £47.39 per week while those in hotels get just £9.58 per week.

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Aymen Alkhawlani, a migrant from Yemen who gave evidence to the committee, said staying in a hotel in Falkirk for an entire year was one of the most difficult things he had ever experienced.

He told BBC Scotland News: “When I got to the UK I thought that it would be doing things like working, studying, would be living a decent life.

"But I was in a hotel. Some people think that it's kind of cool to be living in a hotel, like it's a luxury.

"It is not. You just eat and sleep, do nothing.”

While immigration and employment law is currently reserved to the UK Government, MSPs said they would endeavour to use what powers they do have to help asylum seekers. 

MSPs agreed that giving asylum seekers access to free bus travel could be “life-changing" and would allow existing financial support to go further.

The committee urged the Scottish Government to implement its rollout by the end of the parliamentary session and noted that language learning and interpretation services could also be improved.

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However, there remains concern about the number of asylum seekers still being kept in hotels in Scotland.

In June, it was revealed that more than 600 asylum seekers were living in hotels in the country.

But the Holyrood committee made clear in its report that such accommodation was “inappropriate”.

While councils told MSPs that there were no unaccompanied children living in Scottish hotels evidence from the charity JustRight Scotland appeared to contradict this.

The committee said it was “frustrated” not to get a clear answer and expressed concern that the UK Government’s Illegal Migration Act was impacting these children.

The Scottish Government’s Migration Minister, Emma Roddick, said the UK’s asylum system was failing.

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She said: "We are working with the Home Office, Cosla and partners to provide the safety and security young asylum seekers need to rebuild their lives, and with stakeholders to develop mitigations against the UK government asylum policies, including the Illegal Migration Act, within our devolved powers and budget.

"This report highlights that only independence will allow Scotland to create an asylum and immigration system that is fit for purpose and based on Scotland's needs."

A UK government spokesperson said: "A recent High Court judgment upheld that local authorities have a statutory duty to care for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

"We have always maintained that the best place for unaccompanied children to be accommodated is within a local authority."