Ukrainians fleeing war in their home country will be able to access health care and certain benefits upon arrival in Scotland.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the move was part of efforts to ensure those fleeing the Russian invasion received “the warmest possible welcome”.
An amendment to current legislation means that refugees from Ukraine will be able to access healthcare, including maternity care, mental health services and treatment for specific conditions, free of charge while in Scotland.
The Scottish government also stressed that this would apply to Ukrainians who were in Scotland on short-term visas when the war started and who have had to extend their stay because it is not safe for them to return home.
In addition, everyone is entitled to free emergency treatment at A&E, regardless of nationality, residency status or length of stay in the country, with people also being able to register with a doctor. general practitioner to receive free care.
Emergency legislation has also come into force which will allow those coming to Scotland from Ukraine to meet the residency requirements for Scottish social security benefits.
This means that those fleeing war will immediately be able to claim payments such as Scottish Child Payment and Child Disability Payment, if they are entitled to them.
As millions fled Ukraine following the Russian invasion, Mr Yousaf, speaking on behalf of the Scottish Government, said: “We are determined to do everything in our power to offer displaced people from Ukraine the warmest welcome possible when they arrive and this includes providing health care to those in need.
“We fully recognize that they may have had very traumatic experiences and may require specialist treatment and care.
“Waiving healthcare fees and access to benefits is a practical step to ensure that those who have been forced to flee their homes and countries can live safely and comfortably in Scotland for as long as they need to. “