In the first two months of 2013, 53 individuals applied for asylum in Iceland, compared to ten in the same period last year. Out of the 53 asylum seekers, 30 are Croatian citizens, who have been given express treatment.
“It means that their applications are being prioritized above other applications,” Þorsteinn Gunnarsson, lawyer at the Directorate of Immigration, told Morgunblaðið. When asked how long it will take to process each application, he stated, “We try to aim for 90 days.”
Croatia will obtain European Union membership on July 1, 2013. “If more people [from Croatia] will apply for asylum we won’t manage to process them by July 1,” Þorsteinn stated.
The average processing time of applications for asylum was 275 days in 2012. Currently more than 180 individuals are awaiting a response from the authorities.
Kristín Völundardóttir, head of the Directorate of Immigration, said the directorate is lobbying for more manpower so that applications can be processed more quickly.