Iceland has amended its Foreign Nationals Act to loosen the requirements for several work and residence permits.

Key Points

  • A residence permit for work requiring expert knowledge will now be granted for four years instead of two years.
  • A residence permit that has been granted due to a shortage of labor can now be renewed for two years instead of one year. Also, if the employment relationship is dissolved, the permit holder can have an extension of six months to find another job.
  • Foreign nationals who complete university studies in Iceland may now renew their residence permit for three years instead of six months to search for employment in Iceland.
  • Residence permits for students now allow 22.5 hours of work per week, an increase from 15 hours.

Background: The changes are intended to attract foreign workers from outside the European Economic Area and to retain students from outside the EEA who have completed their studies. The proposed changes were first announced in March after a working group concluded that Iceland needed more foreign workers to drive economic growth.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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