The Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Innovation, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs have put in place measures to enable non-EEA foreign nationals to reside in Iceland for up to six months and remote work for foreign companies. With the measure those foreign citizens will be allowed to apply for a long-term visa in Iceland for teleworkers and bring their families without having to move their legal domicile to the country or obtain Icelandic ID numbers.
In the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, many companies around the world have made significant changes to the way they operate and are now increasingly allowing and encouraging their staff to telework. The result is that in many instances the staff member can choose their home environment, irrespective of the location of their workplace.
Ms. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Innovation and Industry:
“We need to shape our export industry, based on ingenuity and by making it easier for foreign nationals to work from Iceland, we add value, knowledge and connections in Iceland that support our innovation environment.”
At the initiative of the Minister of Innovation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, an authorization has been implemented for those who are permanently employed with foreign companies so that they can stay and work in Iceland for up to six months. Until now the authorisation has only been for 90 days. In order to be granted permission for this longer stay, the person in question must demonstrate an employment relationship, income and health insurance. The Icelandic government will keep looking into the matter to find ways of extending the time period, but for now regulations have been changed to accommodate the six month period.
Mr. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs:“We want to ensure that with regards to taxation, there is nothing to prevent the possibility of temporarily allowing individuals working for foreign companies to work from Iceland. We believe that these individuals will bring with them valuable experience and connections that will benefit Iceland on its path to economic recovery from effects of the Covid-19 pandemic”
Ms. Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Minister of Justice:
“Fast technological developments call for us to be open and flexible to the growing opportunities available to us that arise when more employers encourage teleworking. The regulatory framework must take this into account.”