A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again

Big Changes To The Law On Foreigners In Store

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Published June 29, 2012

The Ministry of the Interior will be making sweeping changes to the law on foreigners, pertaining to both immigrants and refugees alike.
Halla Gunnarsdóttir, the chairperson of the committee which put together the bill and the assistant to Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson, announced the bill formally yesterday, the ministry reports. It is expected to be submitted to parliament this fall.
Some of the proposed changes to the law focused on practical matters. For example, if the bill should pass, a single law on foreigners will be under the administration of the Ministry of the Interior. As it is now, work permits are administered by the Ministry of Welfare, while the Ministry of the Interior takes care of residence permits.
However, other changes make advances that could come as a relief to many foreigners in Iceland. Those who receive residence permits, for example, will receive a work permit automatically. Top priority will also be given to allowing foreigners in Iceland to bring their families to live with them.
Greater changes have also been proposed with regard to asylum seekers. Should the bill pass, coming to Iceland with falsified papers will no longer be a criminally punishable offence. The first interview for seeking asylum will be conducted at the Directorate of Immigration; not at the police station, as is the case now. Also, refugees will be allowed to decide where in Iceland they will live, without it affecting what level of service they receive. The bill proposes furthermore that child refugees be given special treatment.
The committee report in its entirety can be read here (.pdf file).



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VIDEO: Holuhraun Best Place For An Eruption

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Holuhraun Still Going Strong, Could Last All Year

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The Holuhraun eruption, which began again yesterday with magma plumes as high as 60 metres, is going strong and might see out the year, reports RÚV. “The eruption is comparable to the one we saw from Krafla [in 1975],” said volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson. “At first there was just a tiny eruption then the eruptions got gradually larger as time passed. It’s possible that this event will last until the end of the year, possibly into some of next year as well.” Seismic activity continues at Vatnajökull though none topped 4.9 on the Richter scale yesterday, presumably because the eruption has alleviated some

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