Albanian Families To Arrive In Iceland On Tuesday - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Albanian Families To Arrive In Iceland On Tuesday

Published January 7, 2016

Photos by
Screenshot from RÚV

The two Albanian families who were granted Icelandic citizenship last month will be arriving on Tuesday.

RÚV reports that organisers for their arrival have found housing for the two families, with one family to live in Reykjanesbær and the other in downtown Reykjavík. Their flights were comped by WOW Air, and Hermann Ragnarsson, who has worked tirelessly to help them, is currently seeking furniture for them.

“We have received a very good response, and have raised some 4.5 million ISK for them,” he said, adding that the process is now in the works to get the children registered in playschool, and set up Icelandic classes for them.

As reported, both families sought asylum in Iceland, but were denied by the Directorate of Immigration. Both families have children with serious illnesses – a child in one family has cystic fibrosis, and the other has a child with a heart condition – and could have been granted asylum on humanitarian grounds, as stipulated in Icelandic law.

Their subsequent deportation sparked strong public criticism, and pressure was put on parliament to bring them back. Both Albanian families filed applications for citizenship, which the Judicial Affairs and Education Committee granted.

The handling of the case by the Directorate of Immigration, as well as contradictory statements from the Director on the matter, prompted the Parliamentary Ombudsman to file a formal request for an explanation. The Directorate has until January 15 to respond.

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