Iceland interior minister complains about absurd laws, wants change

The Minister of the Interior in Iceland has described as ‘absurd’ the current law preventing foreign students’ children being allowed Icelandic residency. Iceland’s laws on foreigners are currently being re-evaluated with a view to changes.

Jóhanna, who is from Colombia, has lived in Iceland for around a year and studies Icelandic at the University of Iceland. She has, along with her sister and a group of allies, been fighting to get a residence permit for her young daughter, Yaliana. But the Directorate of Immigration has repeatedly rejected the request on the grounds that only the children of foreign students studying for a Ph.D in Iceland can get residency permits for their children. Yalina is, however, in Iceland over the Christmas and New Year period on a special visiting visa.

Yesterday Ögmundur Jónasson, the Minister of the Interior, described the law as absurd; adding, “I am not particularly happy with this clause in the laws on foreigners. There is also a lot more in the laws which has proven unfit, so we have decided to subject the whole block of laws to a radical review,” he told RÚV.

Ögmundur says that no students were previously allowed to get residence permits for their children until 2008, when an exception was made for doctor’s level studies.

Ögmundur says the law was changed as part of a drive to encourage more people to study for Ph.D.s in Iceland; but adds that the law is now dated and in need of change — along with many other aspects of the laws on foreigners.

He says he hopes to flesh out the laws and orientate residency permit allocation rules more towards social values and away from primarily serving the needs of employers and the economy.

(Photo not directly connected to story. For illustration purposes only.)

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