A study conducted by Ísandsbanki concludes that unemployment among immigrants in Iceland is as high as 22%, while the national average is currently 8%.
The study shows that unemployment among immigrants rose sharply within the span of mere months, from 2% shortly before the bank collapse to 17% at the beginning of this year. About 41% of those immigrants who applied for unemployment last month worked in construction, indicating a marked decline in infrastructure development in Iceland.
How this effects Iceland’s immigrants depends entirely on their country of origin. Immigrants within the EU have full employment rights in Iceland, and can be hired as easily as any Icelander, taking unemployment benefits should they lose their work. Those from outside the EU, however, are only permitted to work jobs that no Icelander wants to do or can do. Furthermore, those here on a temporary work permit are not entitled to unemployment benefits. Those from outside the EU who lose their jobs must find work within six months or leave the country.
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