From Iceland — Immigrant Sent Packing After Six Years

Immigrant Sent Packing After Six Years

Published February 24, 2009

Jonas Moody, who has lived here for six years and recently lost his
job, has been told to leave the country in a situation all-too common
among many who have tried to start a new life in Iceland.
After Moody was relieved of his duties as a journalist for Iceland Review, he was first denied unemployment benefits, as his work permit was a temporary one that was renewed on a yearly basis – by law, immigrants on a temporary work permit cannot claim unemployment benefits, regardless of how long they’ve been working for their previous employer.
Moody had also applied for citizenship but was turned down – by law, immigrants from outside the EU must wait at least seven years before they can become citizens unless parliament deems them somehow in need of special treatment, as was the case with the late Bobby Fischer.
Moody told Morgunblaðið that “it’s ridiculous that a person can pay taxes into this society for years at a time and have nothing to show for it when a crisis strikes. Foreigners are human beings; not imported goods.”
In order to stay in the country, Moody needs to find employment. Otherwise, his six years here in Iceland will come to an end and he will have to leave the country.
This scenario is unfortunately a familiar one, and is growing in the current economic situation, where immigrants who have lived here for many years, bought real estate and in some cases started families in Iceland are forced to leave the country after losing their jobs because their permits were temporary, albeit continuously renewed.
Watch the video interview at Morgunblaðið’s website here.

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