A total of 154 asylum applications were lodged in Iceland from January 1st through August 31st in 2015. That is a 66% increase from 2014 when a 93 people applied in the first eight months of the year. It therefore seems that 2015 will be a record year in terms of asylum applications. In August this year, 49 people applied for asylum in Iceland. To put this in perspective, the same number of people applied in total during the three preceding months and in all of 2009 a total of 35 people applied.
Applicants come from a total of 32 states and one person is stateless. Albanians are the largest nationality, totalling at 51 applications or a third of all the applications. In light of the civil war in Syria it comes as no surprise that Syrians are the second largest nationality among the applicants. Eighteen Syrians have applied for asylum which amounts to 12% of all applications.
No returns to Syria
In 2015 eight decisions have been made regarding Syrian applicants. Four people were granted refugee status in Iceland. Three people were to return to another European country with reference to the Dublin Regulations. In one case the applicant had already been granted protection in a European state to which he is to return.
Returns to Syria are currently not an option due to the civil war in the country. Syrians are not returned to states from which they would be sent on to Syria.
The Directorate does its best to process Syrians‘ applications as quickly as possible and the same goes for citizens of other states in which there is a state of war. For example two applications from Syrian applicants were processed in less than a month in July.
Asylum or other protection granted to 48 people
In total, 48 people have been granted asylum or other protection at the Directorate from January to August this year. Fifty applications were declined. A total of 158 cases were concluded.
Out of the cases that were concluded with a decision – in which the applicant did not withdraw his/her application or disappear – protection was granted in 35% of cases. Protection was denied in 36% of cases which is largely explained by the large number of applicants from the Balkan states. 29% of applications were returned to other European countries, either on grounds of the Dublin Regulations or because the applicant had already been granted protection in the country in question.