This past week our specialists here at Multicultural and Information Centre (MCC) participated in the reception of 39 quota-refugees. This is the first formal reception in over a year of protected quota refugees due to the pandemic. In the coming weeks, we will again partake in a similar reception to fulfil the commitment made in 2020 by the Icelandic government to resettle 85 refugees from various countries (Syria, Iran, and Kenya). Additionally Iceland has pledged to resettle up to 120 Afghanis due to recent events in Afghanistan.
Our specialists received families from Syria at the airport, with the assistance of our collaborating partners at the Icelandic Red Cross. Families received information packets, personal hygiene, and care products before being whisked away to the Epidemic Hotel for quarantine these first days of resettlement in Iceland. Families were driven in a bus that has been transporting quota refugees free of charge in cooperation with the Red Cross from the airport to their homes for 65 years.
These families will participate in the newly structured coordinated reception program with assistance from our specialists here at MCC. Families will receive community education, Icelandic language lessons, assistance with job market or education related programs and community support through the new pairing system with the municipalities that receive them.
The families are paired with municipalities through the coordinated reception program. The municipalities of Árborg, Reykjavík, Hafnarfjörður and Akureyri are coordinating with us in the reception of these first families.
Our role here at MCC is to “pair” refugees and offer families a reception municipality. We assess whether there are objective reasons for any other conclusion than the proposed municipality. We provide professional guidance and counselling to reception municipalities for the reception of refugees and prepare checklists in connection with the project. We also offer consulting for professionals in municipalities for the preparation of individual plans for families and individuals. We also manage and consult between the agencies and professionals involved in all areas related to the reception of refugees.