The Ministry of Justice is currently advertising for contractors who want to provide application and counseling services for asylum seekers in Iceland, with the hopes of creating an independent body for the process.
The advertisement in question was posted to the EU’s online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal. The contract, worth 830 million ISK, is looking for a single party to “offer social support and information as well as legal assistance at lower and higher administrative level for applicants for international protection”.
A more detailed description of the duties entailed for this independent body includes the following:
(1) offering regular interviews for applicants for international protection; (2) providing social support which includes e.g. social activities as well as other recreational functions for applicants staying in the service of the Directorate of Immigration, especially for children and families with children; (3) assess the facilities provided for applicants for international protection; (4) regularly provide clothes for applicants free of charge; (5) conduct international search services for displaced families; (6) provide psychosocial support and trauma help.
In essence, the position is one of not only providing information and counseling services, but also actively advocating on behalf of those seeking asylum in Iceland.
As reported, the Directorate of Immigration (shown above), which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, has faced long-standing and concerted criticism for how they handle asylum seeker cases. The Dublin Regulation is often evoked, deporting people without their cases so much as being opened, and those seeking asylum have often been subjected to extensive waiting periods while being legally prohibited from working.