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Construction Workers Return to Iceland

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Construction Workers Return to Iceland

Construction.

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

There are signs that numerous construction workers, who left Iceland for Norway in the wake of the banking collapse in 2008, are returning, Morgunblaðið reports.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that a number of construction workers who moved abroad, for example to Norway, in the wake of the financial crisis, and haven’t already returned, are interested in returning to the country,” Svanur Karl Grjetarsson, chief operating officer of the construction company Mót ehf, stated. His company is constructing close to 100 apartments in Mosfellsbær and Kópavogur, in addition to an industrial project.

The construction industry in Iceland has recently been experiencing an upswing, and there has long been a lack of construction workers and experts.

Svanur explains, “The construction industry was one of the hardest hit industries during the crash, and people lost their jobs without notice… When there is a need to increase capacity, we need more workers. We have a core of people who have worked for us for a very long time, and we try very hard to keep them. But once we require good people for additional projects, then they’re not available.”

Svanur believes the authorities ought to facilitate the return of construction workers. “It’s part of the infrastructure of every society to possess enough manpower and expertise to build up a country.”

Árni Jóhannsson, director of buildings and constructions at the Federation of Icelandic Industries acknowledges that construction companies are hiring workers who moved abroad following the banking collapse: “Yes, we notice that construction companies manage to staff new projects, among other things, with construction workers who are moving back home.”

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