The Icelandic Directorate of Immigration has published its annual reports for the years 2011 through 2013. Due to heavy workload the reports have been delayed until now. The reports are only published online and are accessible to all. The reports are only published in Icelandic.
The reports reveal that applications for asylum in Iceland have grown considerably in number in the past few years. The increase is around 50% from year to year. In 2009 the directorate received 35 applications for asylum in comparison to 172 in 2013.
The progress made by the special asylum initiative, which began at the end of 2012 with firm support from the Ministry of Interior, is made clear in the reports: The Directorate‘s backlog has been kept in check and at the end of 2013 – which was a record year in asylum applications – there were only 56 unfinished cases before the Directorate, compared to 80 at the end of 2012.
In 2013 asylum or other form of international protection was granted in 16% of cases that were processed on the merits. In comparison the percentage was 67% in 2011, 41% in 2012 and an estimated 50% in 2014 so far. The small number of positive decisions in 2013 is mostly due to large groups of asylum seekers having arrived from safe European countries, particularly Albania and Croatia.
The number of applications for residence permits in Iceland has declined after the financial crisis in 2008: In 2008 the Directorate received 4967 applications from citizens outside the EEA compared to 3076 in 2013. In 2010 to 2013 permits were granted in 87 to 94% of cases. Citizens of the United Stated were the largest group among those that were granted residence permits, followed by citizens of the Philippines and Thailand. In 2013 the majority of refusals for a residence permits was due to insufficient applications and/or accompanying documents.
The reports contain further information on the above as well as more information about the Directorate‘s work, including regarding visitor visas, expulsion of criminals and Icelandic citizenship.
O.b.h. of the Directorate of immigration,
Kristín Völundardóttir, director