Business Leaders Want Government To Make It Easier For Non-EEA Citizens To Immigrate

Business Leaders Want Government To Make It Easier For Non-EEA Citizens To Immigrate

Published September 8, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Unemployment was at 3.2% in July, according to the Directorate of Labour, and there is a distinct labour shortage in Iceland.

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As such, business leaders are imploring the government to make it easier for people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to immigrate to Iceland, Vísir reports.

For the unfamiliar, by Icelandic law EEA citizens may move to Iceland and begin looking for work. The hiring process is rather simple for these people as well. Those outside of the EEA, however, in most cases must have employment already waiting for them before they even arrive, and a potential employer must prove they could find no Icelander who can or will do the job. After that, the process can still be lengthy and complicated.

Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson will attempt to submit and pass a sweeping immigration bill that has failed to pass four times already, and while he said he is not opposed to making some changes to the bill that would make it easier for non-EEA citizens to immigrate, this would also require a bill from the Minister of Social Affairs to go with it.

Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson, the director of Business Iceland, spoke plainly on the matter, saying, “We need to ensure, and we need actually to roll out the red carpet for people who want to come here and build a good life for the future. That’s in our interests, too.”

On the subject of hiring non-EEA citizens, Halldór said the system is “all too complicated and lengthy. Both we and the government have known this is a problem for a long time now,” adding that he will take the minister at his word that he wants to remedy this situation.

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