Fewer Immigrants Leave Iceland Than Expected Skip to content

Fewer Immigrants Leave Iceland Than Expected

At the beginning of this year, 28,644 foreign citizens resided in Iceland, or nine percent of the Icelandic population. In the first nine months of 2009, 3,538 foreign citizens moved out of the country while 2,793 moved to the country, so the number of foreign-born residents has only dropped by 745 in this period, or by 2.6 percent.

The photo is unrelated to the story. By Páll Stefánsson.

“Many people have found it surprising to how small an extent the number of immigrants in Iceland has decreased during the economic crisis,” reads the Íslandsbanki analysis department’s newsletter Morgunkorn, visir.is reports.

It is surprising considering that an industry such as the construction sector, which has depended heavily on foreign labor, is going through a period of recession with mass layoffs, the newsletter argues.

A total of 1,764 foreign citizens were registered as unemployed at the end of October this year, most of whom used to work in the construction sector. However, the majority of foreign citizens living in Iceland are employed.

The unemployment rate among foreign citizens in Iceland is not as high as in many other European countries, the newsletter states.

In spite of the economic crisis and decreasing purchasing power, followed by depreciation of the Icelandic króna and high inflation, salaries in Iceland are still high compared to many other countries, especially in eastern Europe; the largest group of immigrants in Iceland come from Poland.

The fact that fewer foreign citizens are moving away from Iceland than expected may reflect that the economic situation in Iceland is still favorable compared to many other countries in spite of the crisis, the newsletter suggests.

Click here to read more about unemployment in Iceland.

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