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Minister to Limit Foreign Ownership of Properties in Iceland

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Minister to Limit Foreign Ownership of Properties in Iceland

ogmundur-jonasson_radherraMinister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson will present a new bill to the government this week, stating that foreign citizens are not eligible to own properties in Iceland unless they have a legal domicile in the country.

Ögmundur explained that the motivation behind his proposed legal amendment is that foreign millionaires are destroying the Icelandic countryside by buying up pieces of land, ruv.is reports.

Currently, EEA citizens can acquire pieces of land in Iceland without applying for a legal exemption. However, if the bill is passed, they must demonstrate that they intend to settle in Iceland, live on the land, practice farming or other operations there.

The bill also includes real estate, although Ögmundur reasons it is not his intention to prevent foreign citizens owning summer houses in Iceland.

The minister does not want to speculate whether other ministers support his bill but is certain that the majority of voters will back his proposals. The parliamentary election in April will indicate whether that is the case, he stated.

Vice-chair of the Social Democrats Dagur B. Eggertsson commented that Ögmundur’s bill is at odds with the policy of increasing foreign investment in Iceland.

The bill would make it more difficult for investors like Chinese businessman Huang Nubo, who was interested in acquiring the piece of land Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum in Northeast Iceland, to invest in the country.

Ögmundur confirms that, adding that Huang’s request to purchase the land has been rejected.

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