A new report shows that the number of people seeking asylum in Iceland is very small, even when compared to other Nordic countries.
RÚV reports that this data point, as well as others, were brought to light in a new report conducted by the Joint Committee of the Nordic Social Democratic Labour Movement (SAMAK).
The report points out that, even when compared proportionately to other Nordic countries, very few people seek asylum in Iceland: about 600 people between 2000 and 2009. Of those, even fewer are granted asylum. One researcher for the report, Anne Skevik Grødem, describe the flow of refugees to Iceland as “tiny”, adding that Norway probably receives the same number of asylum application in a single week than Iceland has received in the past ten years.
Immigrants to Iceland, the report also says, come here almost exclusively to look for work, and the largest group amongst them are Poles. While the percentage of Icelandic residents who are immigrants – 9% – is similar to rates in Denmark and Norway, there was one other detail that set Iceland apart: labour participation.
There is a higher rate of labour force participation amongst immigrants than locals in Iceland. Another researcher who worked on the report, Anne Britt Djuve, told reporters that this is unique to the Nordic countries. In Sweden, for example, unemployment amongst Swedes is 6.4%, while amongst immigrants it’s 16%. Inexplicably, no exact figures on Iceland were provided.
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