Nationalists Protested Against Non-Existent Changes To Law - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Nationalists Protested Against Non-Existent Changes To Law

Published August 17, 2016

Main photo by
Paul Fontaine

The major complaints of the Icelandic National Front (INF) about Iceland’s immigration law concern changes to the legislation that do not actually exist.

Stundin, in an interview with INF board member Gunnlaugur Ingvarsson at last Monday’s demonstration, asked what changes made to Iceland’s immigration law the INF objects to in particular. Gunnlaugur, despite claiming to have read the law in its entirety, made claims about what the law entails that do not appear anywhere in the legislation.

For example, Gunnlaugur contends that the revised immigration law will allow all asylum seekers who come to Iceland to have their cases examined, and to grant anyone who applies for asylum international protection. No such provision exists in the legislation; in fact, the law allows the Directorate of Immigration to continue to ignore examining asylum seeker cases, and defer instead to deporting them based on the Dublin Regulation.

Gunnlaugur further contended that the new immigration law “opens the borders so much, and opens then the possibility that refugees and asylum seekers can come to Iceland unhindered”. Again, no such provision can be found anywhere in Iceland’s immigration law.

In addition, Gunnlaugur contends that the law will also grant asylum seekers government pay-outs that equal a full-time salary. On the contrary, asylum seekers are given a weekly allowance of just over 10,000 ISK a week; the minimum full-time salary in Iceland is about 200,000 ISK per month. The revised immigration law does not change this in any way.

In fact, one of the major changes to Iceland’s immigration law is that waiting times for asylum seekers to get an answer on whether or not they have been granted asylum will be shortened. This does not in itself mean more asylum seekers will be granted asylum – with the use of the Dublin Regulation still authorised, it could actually mean that deportations will be stepped up.

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