From Iceland — Wants Work Permits For Refugees

Wants Work Permits For Refugees

Published July 3, 2012

A caretaker for refugees in Selfoss believes that issuing work permits for asylum seekers would make a tremendous difference in their lives.
As reported, Iranian asylum seeker Mohammad Askarpour has been having quite a struggle since coming to Iceland. After being deported to Greece and spending 10 months in a refugee camp there, he was allowed to return to Iceland. However, he was not given the medical attention he requested, despite having a severe sinus infection, and reporting depression and suicidal thoughts. Eventually, he was granted health care, but only after reaching the point of having to be admitted to a mental hospital.
Mohammad has left the hospital, RÚV reports, and is on his way to Selfoss to stay at the home of Ali Mobli, a caretaker of asylum seekers.
Ali, who tries to teach the asylum seekers in his care English and Icelandic, says that issuing work permits to asylum seekers would make a great difference in their lives. However, he points out that in Iceland, one cannot work without a work permit, which you cannot receive without a kennitala, which you cannot receive without being approved for a work permit. “It’s kind of a Catch-22,” Ali said. The right to work is also severely limited for refugees, by Icelandic law.
Ali says that the asylum seekers who come to him are in a poor emotional state, brought on to a large extent by the long waits of uncertainty that refugees must endure in Iceland, and the inability to do much with their lives in the interim.

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