The Directorate of Immigration is facing “unacceptable” working conditions, says the director. The Ministry of the Interior has promised to conclude a review soon.
Immigration to Iceland has been steadily rising, both in terms of registered immigrants and asylum seekers. However, the Directorate of Immigration (UTL) is understaffed, underfunded, and facing a backlog that puts the average application’s timetable at around two years – with no sign of the workload abating. Applications have become so snarled at the directorate, RÚV reports, that some immigration staff have received threats from applicants.
Kristín Völundardóttir, the director of UTL, has called the situation “unacceptable” and has repeatedly requested that the Ministry of the Interior take action. Ögmundur Jónasson, the Minister of the Interior, told reporters that the ministry was reviewing UTL’s situation, looking specifically at what finances are needed in which departments. He said that a conclusion on the matter will be reached soon.
Kristín has said that UTL needs at least four more lawyers to handle the asylum seeker applications. The ministry promised two more lawyers last spring, but they have yet to be hired.