The exact number of refugees from Syria that Iceland will ultimately accept is still undecided. The Icelandic Red Cross has offered their input on submitted legislation on the matter.
A parliamentary proposal on the number of Syrian refugees Iceland will accept this year is still being contested. The proposal calls for Iceland to welcome 100 refugees this year, 200 in 2016 and 200 in 2017. Officially submitted commentary on the proposal from the Icelandic Red Cross offers another perspective.
The Icelandic Red Cross does not believe it will be possible to accept any more than 50 or 60 refugees this year – the admissions process is complex, and can take two to four months to complete. Further, they advise Iceland accepts 200 refugees over the course of 2016 and 2017. This number, they say, is both affordable and feasible, provided there is housing and related services available for incoming refugees distributed over several municipalities.
At the same time, the Icelandic Red Cross points out that Iceland is still accepting proportionately fewer refugees than other Nordic countries. They also have advised the government that not all Syrian refugees will have the desired documentation for processing on account of their circumstances back home.
In addition, the Icelandic Red Cross has also advised that Iceland stop deporting people to Hungary and Italy, as these countries are not fulfilling international requirements for the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal told parliament last month that Italy, Greece and Hungary are “not considered secure countries. It would not be safe to send asylum seekers back there”.