A Third See Immigration as “Big Problem”

Iceland Review Online, Nov. 10, 2006

About 33 percent of respondents to a recent poll characterized the increase in foreign-born residents in Iceland as a “big problem.”

The nation-wide poll was undertaken by daily newspaper Fréttabladid.

Forty three percent of respondents said they find increasing immigration a “small problem,” and the remaining 23.6 percent do not perceive it as a problem at all.

The poll also revealed that about 70 percent of Icelanders would like to see increased restrictions on the granting of residence permits.

Political scientist Birgir Hermannsson told Fréttabladid that since immigration has steadily increased in recent years in Iceland, people might worry about increase in crime.

Einar Skúlason, manager of the Intercultural Center in Reykjavík, told the paper that it is easy to find problems caused by foreigners if people go out looking for them, but in his opinion the increase in foreigners does not affect the society negatively.

“It has been revealed that comparatively Icelanders are more likely to commit crimes than foreigners,” Skúlason said.

Skúlason added that he doubts people realize how hard it is for foreigners to get residence permits, as many applicants are rejected, especially those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

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