The Project: Integration or assimilation?

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Context of Polish immigration and integration in Iceland

by Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir

In terms of national background and religious affiliations, the population of Iceland remained relatively homogeneous until around the last decade of the 20th century. This quickly changed, however, as growing numbers of people streamed into Iceland to work and study during the last two decades. The vast majority of these people came from other European countries, particularly Poland, with only a small percentage hailing from lands outside Europe and/or seeking family reunification or asylum. This sudden influx of cultural diversity and relatively cheap labor created a dynamic context for critically and reflexively examining Icelandic society and national identity. This chapter therefore aims to shed light on the factors and historical circumstances that specifically gave rise to increased migration to Iceland. The author describes the policy of integration of immigrants which was formulated explicitly in 2007.


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