An independent Scotland should establish its own body for dealing with asylum applications rather than contracting out border control to the UK Border Agency, according to a new report.
Setting up such an agency would be the best way of ensuring asylum claims are assessed fairly and efficiently, said the Scottish Refugee Council (SRC).
The document, which sets out options for improving the lives of refugees in Scotland after the referendum, gives recommendations to both the UK and Scottish governments, taking into account both possible outcomes for the 2014 referendum.
As well as establishing its own agency, the report recommends that an independent Scottish Government gives cash support to people claiming asylum of "an equivalence to a national in need", and allows asylum seekers to work immediately.
The SRC estimated, based on current asylum figures, that the cost of processing asylum requests and financially supporting applicants in an independent Scotland could cost around £17.6 million each year.
John Wilkes, chief executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: "We hope that our research into future asylum policy in Scotland - a policy that is fair, humane and effective - provides a blueprint for policy-makers whether at Westminster or Holyrood.
"As an independent charity, Scottish Refugee Council takes no view on the outcome of the referendum itself and consequently we will not take a position on any side of the debate in the run up to the referendum.
"Whether the Scottish constitution changes significantly or the status quo maintains, the rights and dignity of people seeking sanctuary in Scotland must be respected and upheld.
"Our ground-breaking research provides policy-makers with the insights and information required to help build a Scotland where people fleeing torture, terror and human rights abuses can live in safety and contribute fully to Scottish society."
Professor James Mitchell, head of the School of Government and Public Policy a Strathclyde University and a member of the expert advisory group which helped steer the report, said it was "a challenge to all who take sides in the debate on Scotland's future".