The continuation of resettlement of refugees to Iceland is important

“It is crucial that Iceland continue to resettle refugees, as this is often the only durable solution for individuals who have fled because of persecution in their country of origin,” UNHCR’s regional representative for Northern Europe, Pia Prytz Phiri, said when she recently visited Iceland.

UNHCR's Regional Representative, Pia Prytz Phiri, met with Iceland's Minister for of Social Affairs and Equality, Thorsteinn Víglundsson (right), and the Director of the immigration unit, Sigrun Ingibjörg Gísladóttir (left).

In Iceland, she met with the Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, Thorsteinn Víglundsson, and the recently appointed Director of the immigration unit, Sigrun Ingibjörg Gísladóttir, and were pleased to hear that Iceland is planning to put emphasis on resettlement of refugees in the coming years.

An important aspect for UNHCR is the integration of refugees. The aim is that they become active participants in the society. In a process that involves refugees themselves, information should be shared between resettled refugees who had managed well and recently resettled refugees.

Minister Thorstein Víglundsson said in the meeting that the Government intends to work on a long-term plan for resettlement of refugees in cooperation with UNHCR.

“In particular we need to grasp the opportunities for the refugees to be actively involved in the local communities and it is important to make sure that the refugees get access to the labour market and the ability to conduct work in accordance with their education,” Minister Viglundsson said.

During the meeting, they also discussed the great need that persists among Syrian refugees. It was noted that only about half of the 500,000 Syrians considered to be in an urgent need of moving to a state of security has been granted international protection.