Three Haitians arrived in Iceland last weekend and will stay here temporarily or permanently. It is a family reunion organized after the earthquake in January; two of the arrivals are children whose mother lives in Iceland and the third is their grandmother.
From the Icelandic rescue unit’s efforts in Haiti. Photo courtesy of ICE-SAR.
According to Mördur Árnason, chairman of the parliament’s refugee committee, the government discussed shortly after the earthquake what could be done to help Haitians, Morgunbladid reports.
In cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency it was decided to invite Haitian citizens already living in Iceland to have their family members moved to the country.
The three Haitians who arrived last weekend are not considered refugees, although they will receive social assistance and benefits from the state for one year as in the case of refugees.
They will also be given Icelandic language lessons and a residence permit with the option to apply for a long-term residence permit and citizenship later on.
The children will start school soon but in the coming days they will rest after the long journey from Port-au-Prince to Iceland via Paris and be given time to adapt to their new environment before the adjustment period begins.
“They were a little tired but the kids are very excited and I think these people will be successful in settling here,” Árnason said.
The opportunity for Haitians to move to Iceland who have family connections here expires at the end of this year and so Árnason finds it unlikely that other Haitians will follow.
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