The Government of Iceland approved on April 22 a recommendation of the Prime Minister, Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market, Minister of Justice, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Health, and the Minister of Education and Children to accept the proposals of the Refugee Committee to specifically welcome groups of vulnerable refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
On 22 March, the Government approved a proposal by the Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market, Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, to task the Refugee Committee with making proposals to welcome groups of especially vulnerable refugees from Ukraine. The committee was also tasked with making proposals on how to help Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, which have received high numbers of refugees since the invasion began.
The Government’s first response and actions in keeping with the Refugee Committee’s proposals will be as follows:
- Receive up to 100 individuals who have fled to Moldova from Ukraine. Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries but has received about 450,000 refugees and is facing challenges in providing them with the help they need.
- Receive five to seven disabled children and their families. An appeal has come from polish authorities for other countries to receive disabled children from Ukraine currently situated in Poland. It is essential to take good care of this group, which requires substantial support and services. The estimated number of disabled children and their families is about 15-20 individuals.
- Icelandic authorities will receive sick and injured individuals and their close relatives. Requests to receive individuals who require medical care come from a European database. Representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management will monitor requests and evaluate the health care system’s capacity to meet them.
More than 820 individuals from Ukraine have already applied for protection in Iceland. This number is expected to rise in the coming weeks and months. Between 120 and 140 people are expected to come to Iceland with the Government’s decision to specifically welcome vulnerable groups from Ukraine.