It was planned that Iceland would receive 85 so-called “quota refugees” this year; however, due to the uncertainties arising from the pandemic it is now considered unlikely that all 85 will be able to arrive in the country before the end of the year, a report from Vísir revealed this morning.
The term “quota refugee” refers to those refugees which the Icelandic government expressly invites to the country, usually from refugee camps in other countries.
According to Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Minister of Social Affairs and Children, a great amount of effort will be put into making the reception of the quota refugees happen as soon as possible–it is simply considered unlikely that there will be complete success.
The UN temporarily stopped the relocation of refugees due to the travel complications created by the pandemic. However, Ásmundur says that the government has continued to receive reports on individual refugees: their stories, and information about the countries they have been forced to flee. Work on the reports has continued despite the pandemic, though it has not yet been possible to interview the refugees as the process requires.
The Icelandic government received 52 quota refugees in 2018 and 74 in 2019, and plans to receive 100 in 2021.
The procedures for receiving refugees will need to be reviewed, according to Ásmundur. The Ministry of Social Affairs is working on concluding agreements with the International Organisation for Migration, which will take into account changed circumstances.
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