Immigrant Wins Work Permit Challenge Against Government - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Immigrant Wins Work Permit Challenge Against Government

Published September 23, 2014

Main photo by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

An immigrant from Iran has won a court case against the Icelandic government, after he was denied a work permit on grounds the court found insufficient.

MBL reports that the man in question came to Iceland from Iran in 2011, originally on a student permit. Later in the year, he bought an import company, taking a seat on the directorship and registering himself as the managing director. After buying the company, the man changed the company’s name, and began to import silk and carpets from the Middle East, as well as dates, nuts and other foodstuffs.

However, in March 2013 the Directorate of Labour denied the man a work permit. The matter was appealed to the Ministry of Welfare, which upheld the decision. In both cases, the conclusion reached was that a person did not need any kind of specialised knowledge, education or training to import such goods. Some work permits require an applicant to prove that the job they seek is one no one else can do or wants to do.

The matter was taken to Reykjavík District Court, who ruled yesterday with the contrary conclusion. They ruled that the ability to identify quality Persin rugs takes special training, and there are in fact classes one can take to learn the skill. The immigrant in fact has certification from his home country that he is an expert in Persian rugs.

In addition to receiving a work permit, the court ruled that the plaintiff also be awarded 300,000 ISK in damages from the state.

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