Afghans residing in Iceland have submitted 40 applications for protection on behalf of their family members in Afghanistan since June, RÚV reports. Some of the applications have been approved, but it is unclear when the individuals will arrive in Iceland. Conditions have worsened since the country was taken over by Taliban forces in August, and the United Nations reports that half of the country’s population now faces acute hunger.
The UN Refugee Agency recently urged the Nordic countries to speed up and simplify the application process for Afghan refugees that have received protection and are applying to bring family members to their country of residence. The Icelandic government’s Refugee Committee submitted suggestions in August including, among other things, prioritising these applications and increasing funding to the Directorate of Immigration in order to speed up procedure.
The Ministry of Justice could not answer RÚV’s question on when the approved applicants would arrive in Iceland. The Ministry stated it was working to bring the individuals to the country, but face challenges as Afghanistan’s borders are closed and international organisations are no longer operating within the country.