Just As Many Foreigners Coming To Iceland As Leaving

21.11.2011
Words by Paul Fontaine
Despite a slowly recovering economy that still has a ways to go, the number of foreigners moving to Iceland is about equal to the number leaving.

Experts at the Directorate of Labour have come to the conclusion that the growing demand for foreigners working in the service industries has had the effect that their numbers cancel out the amount of foreigners leaving. Karl Sigurðsson, the department director of the informational technology and research division of the Directorate of Labour, pointed to comparative data from Statistics Iceland to verify his claims.

"It's quite remarkable to see how the movement of labour has been in this country," he said. "Foreigners have been coming to this country in great numbers over the past three years since the economic crash, about 2,000 to 3,000, if I remember right. But the number of foreigners in the country have decreased very little over the past two years."

In 2009, the story was quite different, as nearly twice as many foreigners left the country as moved to it, but that trend seems to have reversed itself in such a way as to flatten out the ratio. In the past year, about 3,000 foreigners moved out of the country, while 3,500 moved to it.

Karl said the numbers surprised him, as they had expected there would be greater numbers leaving, and fewer numbers moving in.

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