Four Independence Party MPs from the South Iceland district, which includes Reykjanesbær, have submitted a parliamentary proposal that would move the Directorate of Immigration offices from its current location in Kopavogur to Reykjanesbær.
Parliamentary proposals differ from bills in that they provide an outline for something that government should consider doing, or research how to do; if passed, it becomes the policy of the ruling coalition to explore the proposal’s aims.
The text of the proposal admits that while it might be temporarily inconvenient for current employees of the Directorate to move the offices, Reykjanesbær is a short distance from the capital area, and therefore “not especially burdensome” for the move to be made. It would, at the same time, increase employment opportunities for university-educated people in Suðurnes.
The proposal also addresses immigrants, who would likely be the most affected by such a move, by pointing out that 9% of Reykjanesbær residents are immigrants. Suðurnes also has the highest percentage of foreign residents, at 23.4%. However, this comprises some 6,601 immigrants–the greatest number of immigrants in Iceland can be found in the greater capital area, where they total some 32,250 people, or over five times the number in Suðurnes.
Lastly, the proposal points out that unemployment in Reykjanesbær has been at about 10%, whereas it is about 5% elsewhere in the country, and moving the Directorate offices would provide greater diversity of employment for the town. How many jobs the move would create for Reykjanes–especially as the proposal already assumes that current Directorate employees will simply commute to Reykjanesbær to work–is not calculated.
When or whether the proposal will pass remains to be seen.
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