Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, hosted a workshop earlier this week where attendees discussed opportunities for improvements to the regime of work permits for international specialists in Iceland.
In recent months, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, has mapped out challenges and come up with proposals to facilitate the process of hiring international specialists from outside the EEA in line with objectives set out in the governing charter.
“Successful facilitation of access to specialised knowledge brings about a higher level of innovation, economic growth, increased number of jobs, and the opportunity to increase revenue from exports,” Minister Sigurbjörnsdóttir said recently when four courses of action for promoting interest and incentives for international specialists to relocate to Iceland and subsequently increase access to specialised expertise was presented to the Government.
Call for efficient processes and access to Icelandic language learning
A diverse group of international specialists and stakeholders attended the workshop, including specialists from businesses and start-ups of all shapes and sizes, international university students, and HR managers. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the scene for international specialists in Iceland and gain insight and feedback on where opportunities for improvements lie to exploit the opportunities associated with open access to specialised expertise.
The workshop revealed that international specialists in Iceland are generally satisfied with the Icelandic healthcare system, access to education and childcare, job security and wages, tax incentives and the innovation environment that has been developed in Iceland in recent years.
Conversation with stakeholders paves way for prioritisation
Suggestions for solutions discussed at the workshop include a one-stop information portal for international specialists, their families, and employers, leading to improved access to documents and information for relocating to and living in Iceland. Attendees also agreed that an efficient, speedy system is necessary for processing all required documentation and permits and noted that current processes are protracted. Access to Icelandic language learning and work permits for spouses also scored high in terms of priorities when it comes to making Iceland an attractive choice for international specialists and students.
The workshop produced a clear vision and prioritisation for the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. With insight into the needs and requirements of specialists the opportunity to proceed with the relevant offices and ministries in mapping out and acting on plans to facilitate the arrival of international specialists in Iceland.