The number of foreigners living in Iceland may be more than double the 2005 reported statistic.
According to Fréttabladid, Halldór Gröndal of the Federation of Labor Unions in Iceland believes there are close to 30,000 foreign citizens living in Iceland, 13,000 of whom are working.
Iceland’s statistic bureau reported in 2005 that 13,778 foreign citizens were living here.
If the unions’ numbers are correct, it would mean that one out of ten residents in Iceland is foreign-born, and that Iceland would have more foreigners living per capita than any other Nordic nation.
A discussion round was held at the Directorate of Immigration yesterday, where many representatives from institutions that address issues surrounding foreigners participated.
Applications for residence permits are at an all-time high.The Directorate of Immigration had received 12,995 applications for residence permits by the end of October 2006, more than the total number of applications in 2005.
According to the Directorate of Labor, seven percent of all people on the labor market have foreign citizenship. In Denmark, foreigners comprise between four and five percent of the working population.
Ragnar Árnason of the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) told Fréttabladid that he finds this development positive, as Icelandic companies would have to move their operations to foreign countries if foreign workers would not come to Iceland.
Not all felt the same way. Fréttabladid reports that Ögmundur Jónasson, chairman of Federation of State and Municipal Employees (BSRB), is worried by this development.
Jónasson said in his opening speech of a BSRB convention yesterday that with an open labor market and expansion in the society, the flow of foreigners will increase further and create a unprecedented burden for the Icelandic state.