Iceland is a small island country located in the north of the Atlantic Ocean, next to Greenland and Great Britain. The country has amazing nature and mild climate, however, due to the specific geographical location, there are not so many tourists here. On the other hand, every year this figure is 3-4 times higher than the number of locals. The population of Iceland in 2024 is only 376.7 thousand people. In addition to Icelandic, English, German and Scandinavian languages are widely used in the country.

Compared to other European countries, Iceland is not the most popular destination for foreigners looking for a job. Nevertheless, even for a limited range of applicants, let's understand the intricacies of employment in this small northern country. The economy of Iceland is quite diversified, the social security system is at a high level, and the unemployment rate does not exceed 3-5%. Fishing industry, tourism and high technology are the main niches for finding a job in Iceland in 2024.

Work in Iceland

Employment in Iceland for foreigners

The main problem faced by foreigners in labor migration to Iceland is the shortage of vacancies and competition with locals and Europeans. Only in the absence of the necessary specialists among these two categories of citizens, the applicant from abroad can obtain the necessary work permit.

That is, even before moving to Iceland it is required to find a local employer and sign a labor contract. After that, a special application is submitted to the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration to obtain a residence permit (residence permit) and the right to employment. In addition, the documentation is thoroughly checked by the local labor office, which assesses the permissibility of the foreigner's employment.

The application process usually does not exceed 180 days. To expedite this procedure, it is necessary to work closely with the Icelandic Consular officials and the employer. A work visa is a prerequisite for third country nationals, i.e. from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Faroe Islands.

Expedited applications for qualified persons are processed within 30 days, provided that all supporting documents are provided. No later than one week after arriving in Iceland and obtaining a work permit, the foreigner must appear in person at the Immigration Department or the District Commissioner's office outside Reykjavik to have his or her photograph taken.

As a rule, the first work permit in Iceland is issued for one year. Then, if there are no problems with wages or taxes, the permit can be renewed for another two years. After four years of continuous residence in Iceland, it is possible to apply for a permanent residence permit.

Important. In some cases, foreign nationals are allowed to work and reside in Iceland for up to 90 days per year without a permit. Employers who intend to take advantage of this option must notify the Department of Labor in advance of the intended temporary employment of foreigners.

Types of residence permits in Iceland for employment purposes

  • Skilled professionals (experts)
  • Athletes
  • Temporary workers
  • Cooperation permit (temporary work in a certain position with an employer who does not have an office in Iceland).
Documents for obtaining a work and residence permit in Iceland
  1. A properly completed application form signed by both the applicant and the employer.
  2. Employment contract.
  3. A copy of the foreign passport and a color photo.
  4. A certificate of no criminal record.
  5. Medical insurance.
  6. Proof of a place to live in Iceland and a minimum amount of guaranteed income each month.
  7. Depending on the situation, local services may require additional information.

Foreign nationals who start employment in Iceland before obtaining a work permit risk having the document rejected. In addition, both the applicant and the employer face fines or imprisonment of up to two years. This rule applies regardless of whether the intended period of work in Iceland is short or long term.

Foreigners who do not need a work permit in Iceland:

  • Foreign nationals covered by the European Economic Area Agreement, the European Free Trade Agreement and the agreement between Iceland on the one hand and Denmark and the Faroe Islands on the other.
  • Foreign nationals with permanent residence in Iceland.
  • Foreign spouses and cohabitants of Icelandic citizens and their children under 18 years of age.
  • Foreign nationals who have obtained a residence permit in Iceland on the basis of international protection.
  • Foreign nationals in the private service of foreign government envoys.
  • Foreign nationals who have been granted a residence permit on the basis of working vacation/youth mobility.
  • Foreign nationals who were born citizens of Iceland but have since lost their citizenship.
  • Residence permits in Iceland on humanitarian grounds.
  • Residence permits on the basis of a special relationship with Iceland.
  • Foreign spouses and cohabitants of foreign nationals who have been granted a temporary work permit for work requiring specialized knowledge and their children under the age of eighteen.

Note. The right of foreigners to work in Iceland is regulated by the local Foreigners' Right to Work Act No. 97/2002 and Regulation No. 339/2005. The right of foreigners to reside in Iceland is regulated by the Foreign Nationals Act No. 80/2016..

Searching for a job in Iceland

Of course, in such a small country, attractive jobs are filled mostly by local nationals. Jobs in Iceland for foreigners in 2024 are available mainly for highly qualified and experienced professionals or scarce workers, even without special skills, but needed by the local economy. The second important point is the command of the Icelandic language. Working in Iceland without knowledge of the language is an unrealistic task. At a minimum, English is required.

Over the past decade, tourism has penetrated almost every corner of life in Iceland. The center of Reykjavik is overflowing with foreign visitors from different countries. To meet the growing needs of the tourist industry, the city regularly opens stores, restaurants, cafes, bars and a variety of exhibitions. Pay attention to this area, where at least a third of new jobs in Iceland are created. If your financial situation allows, consider volunteering or interning with Icelandic companies or non-profit organizations.

How to find a job in Iceland

How to find a job in Iceland

Be sure to take a comprehensive approach, that is, all available methods that can help in your job search. From visiting Iceland as a tourist, to actively monitoring thematic forums and social networks, especially professional ones, such as

Visit the Icelandic Public Employment Service website –

Popular job search sites in Iceland

Icelandic newspaper sites



Alternatively, you can contact a recruitment agency in Iceland (ráðningarþjónustur) or in your home country or send a job offer directly to an employer. To do this, prepare an impeccable CV and a personalized cover letter. Highlight your most valuable skills and experience.

Salaries, income tax and jobs in Iceland

Before taxes, the average salary in Iceland in 2024 is 808,000 kroner per month (about 5,380 euros). This is an excellent figure even in comparison with the most prosperous EU countries. Higher salaries can be expected in the capital Reykjavik. In terms of professions, the highest incomes are earned by company managers, judges, high-ranking government officials, lawyers, programmers and doctors. The income tax rate in Iceland varies from 31.45 to 46.25%.

There is no national minimum wage in Iceland. The rates are fixed in collective agreements between employers, employees and trade unions for some categories of occupation. But in general, assuming full-time employment (173.33 working hours per month) for a worker who has reached the age of 18 and has worked at least six months in the same company (more than 900 hours), the minimum wage in Iceland in 2024 is 368,000 kroner per month, equivalent to 2,450 euros.

Important. When planning labor migration to Iceland, it is worth considering that it is very expensive to live in this country. This is especially true when it comes to renting real estate. According to experts, the average cost of living is about 33% higher than in the United States. In addition, prices in Iceland are higher than in most European countries..

Available jobs in Iceland for foreigners in 2024, primarily concentrated in such industries as agriculture and fisheries, biotechnology, geothermal energy, tourism and IT, where the greatest demand is for software developers. During the summer, it is possible to find seasonal work in Iceland. For example, in the hotel and restaurant business or on farms. English teachers, construction workers, nurses are often needed.

Why work in Iceland?

Perhaps someone is wondering – why work in Iceland at all? Such a distant and mentally alien country for most foreigners. The answer is simple, Iceland is a stunningly beautiful place with incredible natural scenery, northern lights and unique culture. It has a comfortable business environment, gender equality, effective social protection, innovative solutions are implemented everywhere and creativity is encouraged.


# WASEEM AFZAL 2023-03-03 06:40
Job seeker, looking for any type worker or operator labourers ,available to join on immediate basis for your requirements as well. I am willing to relocate.
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# Shahid hussain 2023-04-09 07:10
i am graphics designer and working on coreldraw and photoshop, so i want to apply job
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# Bernard Ofoma 2023-06-03 10:06
Job seeker, looking for any type worker or operator labourers ,available to join on immediate basis for your requirements as well. I am willing to relocate.
I'm seriously and painstakingly searching for job opportunities in Europe.Am 32, a HSE officer at seplat Energy PLC hqtrs in Nigeria.
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# Aayush magar 2023-06-22 15:51
Hii I am aayush magar from nepal I want to come in Iceland for job
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# Hari Krishna Kharel 2023-10-04 02:10
# Hari Krishna Kharel
Job seeker, looking for any type worker or operator labourers ,available to join on immediate basis for your requirements as well. I am willing to relocate.
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# Julia 2024-02-10 09:11
Regards from Athens-Greece , I am a 42 years woman , working the last 15 years in an Embassy in Athens , speaking 3 languages ( Arabic,English and Greek ) , interested to receive an offer .
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