Iceland’s financial crisis is being felt very acutely by the country’s
immigrant population, who experience higher unemployment than nationals.
The Intercultural Centre told Morgunblaðið that increasing numbers of foreigners are coming to the office to seek advice about how to handle the crisis, how to apply for loans, and so forth. However, they also report that many foreigners who have lost their jobs here prefer to stay here, and many more are returning to Iceland now after having left the country earlier.
Immigrants on a temporary work permit are not entitled to unemployment benefits. As many foreigners – particularly those from outside the EU – have been legally obliged to stay on a temporary work permit for several years before qualifying for permanent residency or citizenship, this means that even those who have been living and working in Iceland for years may have to leave the country should they lose their jobs.