Iceland has a resettlement quota of refugees every year. Any decision regarding the number of quota refugees is made by the government in co-operation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Ministry of Social Affairs, through the Icelandic Refugee Council, is responsible for the selection, admission and integration of refugees in Iceland.
The selection process is implemented through selection missions to the countries of asylum by an Icelandic delegation.
Refugees are eligible for resettlement in Iceland if they are recognised by UNHCR under its mandate and fall into one of the following categories:
- Legal or physical protection needs, when the refugee meets one of these conditions:
- Immediate or long-term threat of forced repatriation or expulsion.
- Threat of arbitrary arrest, detention or imprisonment.
- Threat to human rights or physical integrity/safety, analogous to that considered under the refugee definition and rendering asylum untenable.
- Refugees victims of violence and /or torture: who require special medical attention. The resettlement in Iceland is subject to the availability of appropriate medical services.
- Women at Risk: women facing serious physical and /or psychological threats (rape, sexual harassment, violence, exploitation, torture, etc…) lacking the traditional protection of their families or communities.
- Refugees without local integration prospects in the first country of asylum: when refugees remain a certain period in a country of asylum without being able to integrate and there is no prospect for repatriation in near future, they can be considered for resettlement.
Family Reunification for Resettled Refugees
Sources: this information has been taken from official documents as well as the Iceland country chapter in the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.