Nationals of countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) do not require a work permit in Iceland. In most cases, other foreign nationals need to obtain a work permit before moving to Iceland. Work permits are given to foreign nationals but are linked to a specific employer. Information on work permits is coming soon. Meanhwile, see general info on work permits on www.island.is and on the website of the Directorate of Labour.
All workers in Iceland, irrespective of gender or nationality, enjoy the same rights regarding wages and other work conditions as negotiated by the social partners on the Icelandic labour market.
In Iceland, it is prohibited to agree upon poorer conditions than those laid down in collective wage agreements.
Nationals of countries outside of the EEA/EFTA need a work permit before moving to Iceland to work. If you are already in Iceland when an application for a work permit for you is received for the first time, you will generally have to leave Iceland. You can get more detailed information from the Directorate of Labour.
If a foreigner is a national of a state from within the EEA/EFTA area, then it is not necessary to apply for a work permit concerning the foreigner’s work for the employer.
When looking for a job it´s helpful to use one of many websites where jobs are advertised. Even though they are mostly in Icelandic they are a good starting point.
In Iceland it is customary to include a CV with a job application. It is best that the resume is no longer than one page.
There are things that all workers must have in mind. Wages must be in accordance with collective wage agreements and working hours may not be longer than the working hours permitted by law and collective agreements. Leave must be also be paid in accordance with law and collective agreements.
Wages must be paid during sickness or injury leave and an employee must receive a payslip when wages are paid. The employer must pay taxes on all wages and must pay contributions to the relevant pension funds and workers unions.
All workers must pay into a pension fund. The purpose of pension funds is to pay their members an old-age pension and guarantee them and their families against loss of income as a result of loss of ability to work or of death.
The role of unions is first and foremost to negotiate, on behalf of their members, wages and other employment terms in collective wage agreements and to protect their interests in the labour market.
Sometimes people are offered work on the understanding that they do not declare such work for tax purposes. This is known as ‘undeclared work’. Information on how and why you should avoid undeclared work and on the penalties imposed for undeclared work (coming soon).
Foreign nationals moving to Iceland and intending to work in the sector for which they have trained should ensure that their overseas occupational qualifications are valid in Iceland. Information on the main aspects governing assessment of occupational qualifications.
The general rule is that children may not work. Children in compulsory education may only be employed in light work. Children under the age of thirteen may only take part in cultural and artistic events and sporting and advertising work and only with the permission of the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health.
Children aged 13-14 may be employed in light work which is not deemed to be dangerous or physically challenging. Those aged 15-17 may work up to eight hours a day (forty hours a week) during school holidays. Children and young adults may not work at night.