How Hard Is It to Get a Nursing Job in Iceland?

A: In a recent interview with Iceland Review, Guðbjörg Pálsdóttir, President of the Icelandic Nursing Association, confirmed that there is a shortage of nurses in Iceland.

Applicants must, nonetheless, fulfil the requirements set by the Ministry of Health on appropriate education in nursing before receiving a permit for working as a nurse in Iceland (click here for further information). The Directorate of Health is responsible for issuing work permits on behalf of the ministry.

As wage agreements are currently being negotiated, Guðbjörg preferred not to comment on nursing salaries, as they are liable to change quickly: “Current wage tables* do not reflect the state of negotiations.” For further information regarding salaries, interested parties are encouraged to send an email to the Icelandic Nursing Association ([email protected]). When contracts have been signed, new figures will be published on the English version of the Association’s web site.

*The basic monthly salary for an experienced nurse in Iceland was around ISK 327,000 ($4,100 / €2,600) in 2018.

Icelandic Nursing License

Nurses that are citizens of EEA (European Economic Area) member states:

Individuals seeking to practise nursing in Iceland are required to possess an Icelandic nursing license, which must be recognised by the Ministry of Health and Social Security. Applicants must send the following papers to the Icelandic Ministry of Health and Social Security.

1. Certified proof of your citizenship in an EEA country (a certified copy of your passport is sufficient).

2. Certified copy of your diploma or a nursing degree proving that you are registered as a nurse in your home country.

3. Certified copy of your nursing license. This certificate must not be older than three months to ensure its current validity.

4. Letter of good standing, including a statement that your basic-qualification training complies with EEA training standards, and a verification that you have a valid nursing license in your home country.

The respective authorities must certify all these copies (photocopies are not accepted). These documents should be written in English, and any translation should be certified by a governmental authority or an official translator.

The Icelandic Nursing Association is a member of the International Council of Nursing, and employs the same criteria as the ICN regarding job applications from nurses outside the EEA (European Economic Area):

Individuals seeking to practise nursing in Iceland are required to possess an Icelandic nursing license, which must be recognised by the Ministry of Health and Social Security. Applicants must send the following papers to the Icelandic Ministry of Health and Social Security.

1. Certified copy of your permanent address (a certified copy of your passport is sufficient).

2. Certified copy of your diploma or a nursing degree showing that you are registered as a nurse in your home country.

3. Certified copy of your nursing license. This certificate must not be older than three months to ensure its current validity.

4. Certified copy of full details of the programme of your nursing studies: an outline of the curriculum, the length of the program, a description of the courses with the number of lectures, discussion, and clinical work.

The respective authorities must certify all these copies (photocopies are not accepted). These documents should be written in English, and any translations should be certified by a governmental authority or an official translator.

Applicants are no longer required to speak Icelandic before being granted an Icelandic nursing license from the Ministry of Health; however, nurses are required to study and learn Icelandic. For the first year or two, nurses who do not speak Icelandic can take courses while working. For further information, contact the Ministry of Health.

Please note: Prior to arriving in Iceland, you must contact an Icelandic employer and sign a contract of engagement. Foreign nationals coming to Iceland for employment purposes and without having obtained a work permit will be ordered to leave according to the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The address of the Directorate of Health: Landlaeknisembaettid, Katrínartún 2, 105 Reykjavík. Tel: (+354) 510-1900.