The city of Reykjavík has approved an agreement to take on 50 asylum seekers next year.
Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr today signed the agreement with Directorate of Immigration director Kristín Völundardóttir, acting on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior. It will go into effect next January, when the city will welcome 50 refugees 18 years of age or older. The deal includes the capital providing housing, financial support, health care, interpreters, counciling and activities to asylum seekers.
Talks between the ministry and the city over accepting asylum seekers began earlier this year, under the previous government. At the time, Iceland was experiencing an increase in asylum seekers, with 50 news cases in the first few months of the year alone.
Traditionally, asylum seekers are housed at Fit Hostel in Reykjanesbær. However, the town has said their resources are stretched thin when it comes to caring for asylum seekers as they await the processing of their applications.
Asylum application processing can take a very long time in Iceland. In some cases, it can take years, despite the fact that Article 19 of Dublin Regulation II legally requires signatory nations (Iceland amongst them) to either deport the asylum seeker within six months or otherwise finish the processing within one year.