A total of 112 people from 41 countries applied for asylum in Iceland during the first three quarters of 2014. In 2013 a total of 172 people applied for asylum so this year is likely to have a similar number of or somewhat fewer asylum seekers. It should be noted, however, that a great number of things can affect the numbers and any predictions are subject to these factors.
The combination of the group is different from last year. The largest group is of Ukrainian nationals, a total of nine people. In 2013 a total of 42 Croatians and 40 Albanians applied for asylum and they were by far the largest groups of the same nationalities. This year has not seen any Croatians applying but eight applicants from Albania have sought asylum and they remain the second largest group to apply. Seven people from Nigeria and Russia, respectively, applied which is similar to last year. Ethiopia, Georgia, Belarus, Iraq, Iran and Colombia each had five of their citizens apply for asylum in Iceland during the first three quarters of 2014.
In the first three quarters, the Directorate of Immigration granted international protection in 57% of asylum cases which were processed on the merits (non-Dublin cases). In 24 out of a total of 42 asylum applications processed on the merits, refugee status and asylum or a residence permit on humanitarian grounds was granted. Iranians were the largest group of people that was granted asylum as refugees or received a residence permits on humanitarian grounds, or a total of five people. Three Iraqis and Ukrainians, respectively, were granted international protection.
The approval rating is considerably higher than in 2013, when 16% of applications that were processed on the merits were concluded with a decision granting asylum or another form of international protection. The low rate of granted asylum in 2013 is mainly due to large groups of asylum seekers having come from safe European countries, particularly Albania and Croatia. In 2011 and 2012 the approval rating was 67% and 42%, respectively.
Of the 92 asylum applications that were brought to a conclusion by the Directorate of Immigration in the first three quarters of 2014, 43 applications (47%) ended with a decision of a return to another state according to the Dublin Regulation and 42 applications (45%) were processed on the merits. When Dublin-cases are taken into account, asylum or other protection was granted in 26% of all cases whereas 19% of applications were denied. Seven applications (8%) were not brought to a conclusion as the applicants either disappeared or withdrew their applications for asylum before the Directorate could make a decision.
Residence permit granted in 96% of cases and 452 new Icelanders
A total of 2745 applications for a residence permits were submitted to the Directorate in the first three quarters of the year. In total, 2464 residence permits were granted but 111 applications were denied. Therefore the approval rate was 96% which is similar to the rating of the past few years. Residence permits for relatives of Icelandic citizens and students and their relatives were the most common types of granted permits and also the most applied for permits.
In total, 674 applications for Icelandic citizenship were submitted to the Directorate in the first three quarters of 2014. Applications were approved in 83% of cases and the Directorate therefore granted 452 people Icelandic citizenship. A total of 53 people requested to renounce their Icelandic citizenship.
The article and illustrations are based on preliminary statistics from the Directorate of Immigration.