Immigration Authorities Lack Funds For Asylum Seekers - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Immigration Authorities Lack Funds For Asylum Seekers

Published August 25, 2011

The Directorate of Immigration claims it does not have the funds needed to thoroughly investigate and process every application for political asylum it receives, and may soon make cuts not to staff or salaries, but to the basic services they provide refugees.
The vast majority of asylum seekers arriving in Iceland do so by airplane, landing at the international airport in Keflavík. There, they are taken into police custody, questioned, and usually housed at Fit Hostel, just a few minutes from the airport.
While these refugees wait for Icelandic authorities to look into their claims that they are fleeing totalitarianism and threats to their very lives, Eyjan reports that the Directorate of Immigration lacks the money to investigate these claims fairly.
International law requires the Icelandic government to be able to provide funds for each claim to be thoroughly checked out, rather than dismissed out of hand as is often the case here. However, of the 209 million ISK the directorate receives every year from the state, a great portion of this money is used just to run the directorate itself.
Meanwhile, the money budgeted to investigate asylum claims is about 29 million ISK. However, the directorate has spent 65 million on the process.
To rectify this, the Ministry of the Interior would need to reduce the staff – or their salaries – significantly, which is not something the ministry is prepared to do. This being the case, the directorate may make cuts instead in the minimal services they provide asylum seekers in the first place; they may be housed someplace other than Fit Hostel.
The Minister of the Interior has not yet commented on what his next move will be.

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