A family from Albania, after a strong grassroots show of support, has finally been granted residency in Iceland.
Vísir reports that the Telati family, who first arrived in Iceland seeking asylum last June, have been granted residency for humanitarian reasons.
As reported, shortly after news broke that the Directorate of Immigration had failed to register the family’s three children for school, the Telatis received notice that their application for asylum in Iceland had been denied. As such, they faced deportation back to Albania.
While the Directorate did not believe the family was in any immediate danger, this was based on the lack of a civil war in Albania. However, the father of Hasan, the father of the family, was a leading figure in the Communist Party in that country. This has made their lives miserable in post-communist Albania, where they are essentially outcasts in their own society, and have in fact had shots fired at their home. They were subsequently evicted, and their lives threatened.
In the wake of the news of their impending deportation, writer Illugi Jökulsson started a petition, “Let the Albanian Telati family settle in Iceland”, which garnered over 10,000 signatures in just three days.
“We, the undersigned, cannot fathom why the five-person Telati family from Albania are not allowed to settle here,” the petition text read in part. “We demand as urgently as possible that the Directorate of Immigration change the decision to deport the family.”
The family has now been granted full legal residence here in Iceland, and may now begin again the process of building a life for themselves here.