Vast Unemployment among Foreigners in Iceland Skip to content

Vast Unemployment among Foreigners in Iceland

It is estimated that 22 percent of all foreign citizens on the Icelandic labor market are currently without a job—a significantly higher percentage than among Icelandic nationals, which is around eight percent—according to a new report on unemployment.

A construction site in Iceland in 2004. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

There are approximately 9,000 foreign laborers in Iceland, reports.

The report, which was undertaken by Íslandsbanki, reveals that unemployment among foreign citizens has increased considerably since the banking collapse last fall. In August 2008 it was less than two percent and had risen to 17 percent at the beginning of 2009.

As for a reason for this development, the report suggests that many foreign laborers were working in the construction industry, which is now suffering a severe recession, and also that Icelanders are more eager to apply for jobs now that seemed unattractive during the boom.

The report also points out that almost 8,000 foreign citizens have moved from Iceland since the collapse in October and that Iceland might be looking at a higher unemployment rate if they had stayed and registered themselves as unemployed, around 13.5 percent.

Overall unemployment in Iceland measured 8.7 percent in May, down from 9.1 percent the month prior.

Click here to read more about unemployment in Iceland.

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