Parliament Approves Justice Minister’s Immigration Bill Skip to content

Parliament Approves Justice Minister’s Immigration Bill

By Ragnar Tómas

Guðrún hafsteinsdóttir
Photo: Golli. Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, right.

Parliament has approved Minister of Justice Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir’s immigration bill. Members of the government coalition, the Centre Party, and the People’s Party supported the bill, while the Social Democratic Alliance and Reform Party abstained. The Pirate Party opposed the bill.

Forty-two votes in favour

The immigration bill proposed by Minister of Justice Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir has been approved by the Icelandic Parliament, Vísir reports.

All members of the government coalition voted in favour of the bill, along with members of the Centre Party and the People’s Party. Members of the Social Democratic Alliance and the Reform Party abstained, while Pirate Party members voted against the bill.

A total of 42 members of parliament voted in favour of the bill.

Four major amendments 

As noted by RÚV, the bill includes four major changes to current laws. Stricter conditions for family reunification will be implemented, the residence permit duration will be shortened, changes will be made to the Immigration Appeals Board, and the processing of appeals will be expedited.

“The objectives of the bill are clear in this important area. As previously stated, they aim to align our legislation with that of the Nordic countries and also to remove uniquely Icelandic procedural rules from our legislation,” Justice Minister Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir stated before the vote. “I also welcome the comprehensive vision and policy in this area that the government agreed upon earlier this winter, and this bill is an important part of that policy,” Guðrún added.

Arndís Anna Kristínardóttir Gunnarsdóttir, a member of the Pirate Party, stated that the provisions in the bill regarding family reunification were directly aimed against Palestinian asylum seekers: “We oppose this bill. There is nothing good in this matter. The changes being made do not increase efficiency. They increase costs and add pressure on the Directorate of Immigration by shortening the validity of residence permits. This is completely pointless,” Arndís Anna has stated.

As reported in May, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has voiced significant concerns about the bill, highlighting, among other things, issues with asylum caps and family reunification delays.

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