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Record Number of Asylum Applications

By Iceland Review

It looks like 2015 will be a record year in terms of number of asylum applications in Iceland, according to the website of the Directorate of Immigration. Between January 1 and August 31 this year, a total of 154 asylum applications were received.

That’s a 66 percent increase from the same period in 2014, when 93 applications were received. In August alone, 49 people applied for asylum.

The applicants this year are from 32 countries, and one person is stateless. Most of them come from Albania, 51, followed by 18 Syrians.

Responses to Syrian applicants this year have been as follows: Four were granted refugee status, three returned to another European country, with reference to the Dublin Regulation, and one had already been granted protection in another European country to which he will return.

Right now, because of the civil war in Syria, Syrians will not be returned to countries from which they would be sent back to their home country.

The Directorate does its best to speed up the processing of applications from Syria, or any country where there is civil war, the statement says.

So far this year, 48 individuals have been granted asylum or protection, while 50 applications were declined. A total of 158 applications have been processed.

Of all the people whose applications have been processed, 35 percent were granted protection, 36 percent declined, and 29 percent returned to other European countries.

The government’s budget bill for 2016, introduced yesterday, suggests funding for asylum seekers be ISK 475.9 million (USD 3.7 million, EUR 3.3 million), Vísir reports. The 2015 budget bill assumed ISK 285.8 (USD 2.2 million, EUR 2 million) would be spent on this issue, although in effect, ISK 463.6 million (USD 3.6 million, EUR 3.2 million) ended up being allocated to the issue.

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