Iceland offers a broad range of services for immigrants throughout the country.
These services include information, interpreting, translation, legal services, Icelandic tuition and social and student counselling services.
The main role of the Multicultural Information Centre is to facilitate relations between people of different origins and to enhance services for immigrants. Efforts are made to ensure that people can take advantage of the support offered irrespective of where they live. The Multicultural Information Centre offers support and information on the rights and obligations of immigrants and on everyday matters. All communication is treated as confidential.
The purpose of the Service Centre is to provide individuals and families in Vesturbær, Miðborg and Hlíðar with interdisciplinary, co-ordinated welfare services, specialist services for primary and secondary schools, day-care advice, leisure advice and other professional services for institutions and associations in these areas. The Service Centre is a knowledge centre in multiculturalism and diversity and is staffed by people who specialise in matters relating to foreigners and outsiders. The Service Centre has around 420 employees.
The Akureyri Intercultural Centre is an advocate for immigrants and a forum for matters concerning them.
The Centre’s work is based on providing immigrants with information, advice and education, as well as support in providing interpreting services. It also deals with general awareness-raising of immigrant issues in companies, schools and institutions. Further information on opening times may be found here: http://www.akureyri.is/rosenborg/nybuar/.
InterCultural Iceland provides training in relation to multicultural society, provides interpreting services and gives professional advice on immigrant matters, Icelandic society and other aspects related to adjusting to Icelandic society.
The Equality Centre was established in April 2008 with the aim of helping people adjust to Icelandic society.
The Equality Centre is involved in organising various types of courses and provides counselling services for immigrants and Icelanders.
The Icelandic Human Rights Centre was established in Almannagjá (Þingvellir) on 17 June 1994, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Icelandic Republic.
It is an independent body working to promote human rights by supporting research and education and strengthening the human rights debate in Iceland.
The Centre also has a monitoring function, commenting on legislative proposals and reporting to the monitoring committees of the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
The Centre represents Iceland in international co-operation.
- working, together with the Human Rights Council, on the human rights action plan;
- implementing decisions of the Human Rights Council;
- fostering consultation within City authorities in those areas covered by the policy;
- co-operating with partners and other municipalities in those areas covered by the policy;
- consulting the appointed human rights representatives for the various fields;
- fostering consultation within City authorities in this field;
- initiating projects;
- ensuring that citizens are not discriminated against on the basis of their origin, colour, religion, age, political views, gender, sexual orientation, economic situation, lineage, disability, health or any other aspect.
One of the focus projects of the Icelandic Red Cross is to be involved in immigrant issues. Efforts are made to bolster the influence of people of foreign origin by increasing the number of immigrants in the body’s management boards and in the team of volunteers.
The main focus is on encouraging Red Cross departments to develop projects related to immigrant issues for all ages, especially those that contribute to increased social participation for immigrants. Departments have now begun developing and managing new projects and with people of foreign origin in order to make it quicker and easier for them to adjust to Icelandic society.
The Red Cross is also involved in asylum matters in co-operation with the Icelandic government and under the authority of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The Icelandic Red Cross also has a key role to play in the arrival of refugees invited by Iceland, usually in groups of 20-30.
There are fifty Red Cross departments in Iceland, spread throughout the country.
Further information may be found on the Red Cross Iceland website.
1717 Red Cross Helpline
Women’s Counselling provides free legal and social advice. The main purpose is to provide women with advice and support, but Women’s Counselling is also open to men. It is open on Tuesdays 8-10pm and Thursdays from 2-4pm. You can ring or visit at Túngata 14.
Free legal advice for the public at the Icelandic Bar Association every Tuesday afternoon. Those in rural areas can obtain advice by phone, while those in the Greater Reykjavik area need to make an appointment.
The website of the Icelandic Bar Association provides information on attorneys who provide services in English, Danish, French, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and German. There are also forms in Danish, English, French, Icelandic, Serbian/Croatian, Spanish, Polish, Thai and German.