Asylum seekers who do not have the right to stay in Iceland will now be able to return to safe conditions without the intervention of police or the authorities, according to Vísir.is. The Directorate of Immigration and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed an agreement to that effect yesterday. The asylum seekers may even receive financial support for the return trip.
The International Organization for Migration runs a similar program in the Nordic countries and elsewhere. In Norway, such financial support can be as high as ISK 500,000 (USD 4,060,EUR 3,660). A newly enacted immigration law in Iceland allows such support. The plan was to assist 2,300 people in Norway this way, but only 1,100 applied for the assistance. The IMO has helped more than 40,000 asylum seekers this way in the past five years.
The ministry of the interior has stated that assisting people who cannot, do not want to, or are not allowed to stay in the country they’re in, by allowing them to return back home is a more humanitarian approach toward bringing people back to their home country than by police intervention, and that it can make a difference for those who have the option of returning home to safe conditions.
Examples of individuals who might take advantage of this program are asylum seekers who have been denied asylum, or who have withdrawn their application, the victims of human trafficking and vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied children and people in poor health.