All workers in Iceland enjoy the same rights and obligations. They all fall under collective agreements that stipulate basic rights and obligations for all workers and it does not matter if the worker is a formal member of a Trade Union or not. From this rule, only a few exceptions apply and they are discussed in the chapter.
The access of foreign workers into the labour market is governed by different set of rules depending on whether they are EEA citizens or coming from third countries. The former group falls under the agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) which combines the labour markets of the three EFTA-countries (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and the countries of the European Union. The agreement confers direct rights on EEA citizens to look for and take up paid employment in Iceland.
The employment rights of workers from third countries are governed by the foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act No. 97/2002, which regulates the conditions for the issue of work-permits. The Directorate of Labour is responsible for the administration of this Act.
The Act on Foreigners No. 96/2002 governs the issue of residence permits for both groups of workers.
See also: Directorate of Immigration