Iceland Prepares to Receive Refugees from Ukraine Skip to content

Iceland Prepares to Receive Refugees from Ukraine

By Yelena

Photo: Golli. Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Iceland’s Social Affairs Minister.

Iceland will receive refugees from Ukraine, as other European countries are doing, stated the chairman of the Icelandic Parliament’s Refugee Committee. The Directorate of Immigration has removed Ukraine from its list of safe countries, making it possible for Ukrainians to apply for international protection in Iceland, and several dozens have already done so. Authorities have yet to determine how many refugees from the country will be accepted, but preparations to receive them are already underway.

Municipalities want to take part

“We have begun the preparations for the project but strongly emphasise monitoring and observing how European countries will assist the tremendous number of people that are now seeking refuge,” Stefán Vagn Stefánsson, chairman of the Refugee Committee, told Vísir. “We will try to the best of our ability to be in step with what other European nations are doing. We have initiated dialogue with municipalities to try to find out how much housing is available in the country.”

Stefán stated that a number of municipalities in Iceland had already declared that they would like to participate in the resettlement of refugees. He expects more municipalities to do so. “It’s very gratifying to see the solidarity and the willingness from municipalities to take part in the project.”

Number of refugees to be determined

The committee has not yet determined how many refugees will be taken in from Ukraine. “I won’t give you a number because it doesn’t exist. We don’t have one yet. It’s very bad to give a number then not be able to honour it. The situation is such that this is very unlike the projects we have had so far,” Stefán stated.

“This is a European country and residents of Ukraine are free to come here and be here for 90 days. Ukraine has been taken off the Directorate of Immigration’s list of safe countries, so people can apply for international protection. That has already begun, some dozens have applied for it, so the project has begun in some respect.”

The Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Friday.

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