New law on foreigners in Iceland

The Directorate of Immigration.

The Directorate of Immigration. Photo: Kristinn Ingvarsson

The results of a full-scale review of Iceland’s Foreigners Act (current text here) have been announced today.

A cross-party parliamentary committee and the Icelandic Ministry of Home Affairs have worked together to produce a draft text for a new Foreigners Act to be moved before the Icelandic Parliament (‘Alþingi’) in the autumn.

‘Asylum’ to become ‘International protection’

One of the new provisions of the draft Act is that the Directorate of Immigration (‘Útlendingastofnun’) should become the sole channel of communication between foreigners in Iceland and the Icelandic State.

The aim of the new text is make the relevant legislation more accessible and explain the legal provisions more simply and with definitions. Efforts have also been made to harmonise the provisions of the Foreigners Act and the Foreigners Employment Act.

Residence permit categories have been amended and conditions for residency have been simplified to address the needs of industry, the job market and the academic and scientific community.

It is proposed to replace the term ‘asylum’ with ‘international protection’ and new clauses on reception facilities for international protection seekers have been added.

Official comments by September

The draft bill (currently a working document) is set out in fifteen sections:

  1. General provisions
  2. Arrival and departure
  3. Procedures in cases of international protection
  4. Rules on international protection
  5. Stay and residence
  6. Residence permit for employment
  7. Residence permit for workfor education, research and cultural exchange
  8. Residence permit for family reunification
  9. Residence permit on international protection, humanitarian and human trafficking grounds
  10. Other residence permits
  11. Special rules applying to foreign nationals who are covered by the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) or the Convention establishing the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  12. Denial of entry and expulsion
  13. Coercive and investigative methods
  14. Miscellaneous provisions
  15. Administrative regulations, adoption and entry into force

The deadline for submitting official comments to the Ministry of Home Affairs is 7 September. The full text of the draft bill (in Icelandic) can be seen below.

PDF-skrá Draft bill on new Foreigners Act


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