The number of applications for protection in Iceland has been increasing steadily for the past few years and so far this year, 309 applications have been received. Compared to the number of applications received by October 31st last year, the number of applications has more than doubled this year.
As stated earlier on the Directorate‘s website, there was an unprecedented number of applications for protection received in August and September this year, a total of 110 individuals. In October there was a small decrease compared to September, as 57 applications were received. From November 1st to the 24th, 34 persons applied for protection. Looking at this trend, it is expected that applications for protection will continue to increase in Iceland.
The Directorate has been able to keep processing time at a satisfactory level and process more cases than ever, or 299 cases so far this year. For every 100 cases received this year, 97 cases have been completed. Changes in processing methods based in part on the Lean Methodology, increased funding made available to the Directorate and extra staff have played a major part in increased efficiency.
Along with increased number of applications, the percentage of granted permits has increased. A record number of applicants have been granted protection and so far this year. As of November 24, 76 individuals have been granted protection, thereof 20 in November. Including resettlement refugees already in Iceland, 88 persons have been granted permits this year. In December of this year, further 55 resettlement refugees are expected to arrive in Iceland.
Nationality of protection seekers
A large majority of those seeking protection in Iceland so far this year are from Albania, or 34%.
The combined numbers of applicants from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia is almost half of all applications. Approximately 10% of applicants are from Syria, 6% from Iraq, 4% from Iran and 2% from Palestine. The composition of protection seekers in Iceland differs from other European countries where the majority of protection seekers are from Syria and other war-ravaged countries. The circumstances of the majority of protection seekers in Iceland are therefore in some aspects different from the norm in the neighboring countries, at least compared to the situation in the past.
Conclusion of cases
The percentage of granted permits so far this year is almost 26%, including those who have been granted protection, added protection and residence permits based on humanitarian grounds. Persons of 27 nationalities have been granted protection so far this year. From January 1st to November 24th, 38% of cases were refused and in almost 26% of cases the applications were not examined in substance, either as the applicant had been granted a residence permit in another (safe) country, or that his case was being processed by another country and he was sent back there based on the Dublin regulation. From January 1st to October 31st, 2015, 11% of the applicants withdrew their application.
Almost half of the applications refused this year (until October 31st) are from citizens of Albania (45%) and almost two out of every three refusals are for applications from citizens of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia.
Applications from Syrian citizens
The Directorate strives to solve cases of Syrians quickly and efficiently, as well as those of citizens of other war-torn countries. In view of the civil war in Syria, citizens of that country are not sent back to their home country. So far this year, 15 Syrians have been granted protection in Iceland, i.e. 56% of applicants (not counting those who are resettlement refugees). In 26% of cases it has been decided that the applicant shall be sent back to a safe country where he has already been granted a permit as a refugee. In 18% of the cases it was decided that the individual‘s case should be sent to another country to be processed based on the Dublin regulation and only if it was ascertained that the individual is not in any danger in that specific European country. Such a decision is also based on whether or not the applicant is in danger of being sent back to Syria.