While most Icelanders say they have a positive experience with immigrant labour, 44% nonetheless believe that Icelanders should have greater priority in hiring than foreigners.
The poll, conducted by anthropologist at the University of Iceland Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir, sought to assess Icelandic attitudes towards foreigners, MBL reports.
According to the results, the 2008 economic crisis had a significant effect on how Icelanders view foreigners – that is, Icelandic tolerance for immigrants decreased. However, this is not unique to Iceland; similar trends were noted in the US and the European Union.
Foreigners experienced these changes as well. Many reported that, from autumn 2008 onwards, knowledge of Icelandic increasingly became a requirement to get a job.
Despite this, Unnur says that most Icelanders reported a positive experience of working with foreigners. Most of these Icelanders worked in management, offices, or in consultancy. At the same time, the lower-paying an Icelander’s job was, the more likely they were to report a negative experience of working with immigrants. A similar trend was seen regarding levels of education: the less schooling an Icelander received, the less likely they were to report a positive experience of foreigners.
While those living in the capital area had a more positive view of foreigners than those living in the countryside, there was little difference between men and women regarding their opinions of immigrants. By contrast, elsewhere in the world, women tend to be more tolerant of foreigners than men.