From Iceland — Foreigners Need to Live Better Than Some Icelanders

Foreigners Need to Live Better Than Some Icelanders

Published December 17, 2009

A portion of immigration law that requires foreigners to demonstrate “a capable means of support” can mean that some immigrants are denied full residence permits for not making enough money to live, even while working full time.
By law, newcomers to Iceland from outside of Europe must work at a job that the Directorate of Immigrations deems pays enough to support them. During this time, they are issued temporary residence permits through their employers. After four years, they can apply for a permanent residence permit.
However, a woman from Thailand was recently denied a permanent residence permit on the grounds that she does not demonstrate an ability to support herself. The woman in question works full time at the state hospital’s laundry, on top of a part-time job elsewhere.
Katrín Theodórsdóttir, a lawyer for the woman, told Vísir that she finds the matter strange, and wonders what kind of message the Directorate of Immigration is sending to low income people.
“The message from the Directorate of Immigration seems to be that it’s not enough for a foreigner to work a full time job at a public institution in order to support yourself and a child,” adding that it seems many Icelanders are fully capable of being able to do exactly that.

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