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Increased Funding for Asylum Affairs in Iceland

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Increased Funding for Asylum Affairs in Iceland

Government of Iceland 2013.

The Icelandic government when it took office in 2013. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The Icelandic government has decided to distribute ISK 50 million (USD 392,000, EUR 346,000) in additional funding to the Directorate of Immigration for processing applications for asylum in Iceland, which are constantly increasing. No decision has been made as to how many quota refugees will be resettled in Iceland.

A committee of ministers met to discuss the issue this morning. “We are still gathering information and trying to figure out the situation,” commented Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson to RÚV.

“Naturally we are trying to speed up the process but at the same time it is abundantly clear that neither we nor the European Union are about to help everyone who are in trouble at the moment,” he added. Gunnar stated the committee will reach a decision soon.

Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal discussed the additional funding for the Directorate of Immigration today during a debate on the budget bill in parliament.

The new budget bill includes a funding of ISK 200 million (USD 1.6 million, EUR 1.4 million) for the affairs of asylum seekers in addition to the amount reserved for the issue in the 2015 budget bill.

The amount must be reviewed, Ólöf stated, and she asked the parliament to take part in determining the final contribution. “We are facing a new reality and it’s important that the budget bill take it into consideration.”

Iceland is looking at a record-year in terms of asylum applications; 185 applications have already been reported and it’s considered likely that they will increase to 300 before the year is through, which would be twice as many applications as in 2014.

Mbl.is reported today that 31 people have applied for asylum in Iceland so far this month. In August, 49 people applied for asylum in the country. Forty-three percent of the applications received this year come from people who arrived in the country in the past six weeks.

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