Four times more people, or 278 individuals, were granted E-303 certificates from Iceland’s Directorate of Labor in 2008 than in 2007, which enables them to receive unemployment benefits from Iceland for three months while seeking employment in another EEA country.
The issuing of E-303 certificates has increased steadily since the beginning of last year and peaked in December with 148 certificates being issued, Morgunbladid reports.
In December 2007, only one such certificate was issued and, in fact, more E-303 certificates were issued in December last year than during the entire 2007.
The issuing of E-301 certificates increased by 90 percent between 2007 and 2008, which confirm that people who seek employment in another EEA country have received unemployment insurance in Iceland.
Last year, 2,318 individuals applied for such certificates, compared to 1,208 in 2007. Between 2000 and 2006, about 450 E-301 certificates were issued per year on average.
According to Jóngeir H. Hlinason, divisional manager at the Directorate of Labor, the majority of those who received E-303 certificates were Polish citizens returning to their home country.
Out of the 278 certificates issued, 189 were for Poland, 25 for Denmark, 12 for Sweden, 11 for Germany, seven for Norway, seven for Spain, six for Portugal and four for Latvia.
Hlinason said the directorate does not keep records of how many of these certificates were issued to Icelandic nationals, but he does not believe many Icelanders are emigrating to Poland for work.
Quite a few of the other certificates were issued to Icelanders seeking employment abroad, Hlinason said.
However, because of the depreciation of the króna, it is not exactly profitable to receive unemployment benefits from Iceland after they have been converted into a foreign currency, he explained.