Get useful expat articles, health and financial news, social media recommendations and more in your inbox each month - free!

We respect your privacy - we don't spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

Finding Employment

Iceland - Finding Employment

After the financial crisis (2007-2010) in which the Icelandic economy suffered raised inflation, Iceland is edging towards a more stable economy. The current state of the job market as of February 2016 and as displayed by the Directorate of Labour shows that the unemployment rate is low at 2.9%. Results in terms of regions and unemployment reveal some variation around the country.

The lowest unemployment rate could be found in the north western region where it was as low as 1.8%. In the Southern Peninsula area (Suðurnes) the unemployment rate has been the highest in the country for a decade now and currently rests at 3.6%. Of the total unemployment rate, around 20% were foreigners. The most thriving industries in Iceland are fish processing, manufacturing, aluminium melting, geothermal power, ferrosilicon production and a fast growing tourism industry. Over 90% of people in the workforce are members of unions and offer useful information on employees’ rights and terms and conditions of their employment. The links below can be useful for non-natives beginning work in Iceland and understanding their Employment Contract and rights:

Icelandic Confederation of Labour

Directorate of Labour

Work permits are not required from citizens of EU/EAA countries and Nordic Countries. Nationals from other countries must consider their chances at getting a work permit as the immigration policies are fairly stringent. The procedure for applying for a job can take many avenues. It is best to start looking before you go. Have a look at the < ahref="http://wwww.Eures.europa.eu" target="_blank">Eures.europa.eu website for information on work, the job market and work listings. Online Job sites unless listing jobs already in English and stating that they require an English speaker for the role may be recruiting Icelandic speakers only. The best way to find out about work in Iceland is through research, by word of mouth, recommendations from locals and by calling up prospective employers and sending your CV to English speaking businesses. Applying online is common and easy to do so attach your CV and spend time filling out the forms to list yourself and your skills accurately. Do not send off applications or your CV in the post as this takes far too long to deliver.

It maybe be worth trying for specific unsolicited jobs to display that you are willing, in spite of your qualifications and abilities. Unless you have work set up before you leave or have been transferred with your company for an overseas role you really need to get things happening yourself so be proactive. A warning for taking part in any illegal work is that if work is undertaken without the necessary employment permit and permit to stay (black market work) then measures will be taken for the illegal worker to be expelled from the country and banned for a number of years. Their employer will be fined and the worker will be required to pay back double the tax they owe. Working illegally in Iceland often finds foreign workers exploited, with no rights, healthcare or voice when it comes to their wellbeing. It is certainly not worth the risk, even if the employer seems trustworthy. Non-natives require a work permit even for low paid and minimum hours’ part time jobs and temporary work.

As a result of globalisation and diversification more highly skilled and specialised jobs are required for roles such as engineers, health workers and programmers with international citizens being welcomed for such roles. This demand must be met by employing non-native workers to fill these roles. Multinational companies that employ foreign workers are Actavis Group, CRI, Icelandair Group, HB Grandi, Nyherji and MP Bank to name a few. Not being able to speak the local language does affect work opportunities. Not speaking the language means jobs may only be readily available to you in industries you haven’t worked in recently and don’t take into account your further education and experience.

Major recruitment agencies (ráðningarþjónustur) are as follows:

English speaking agency with a range of specialised jobs

Iceland Recruitment
English speaking staff with construction, hospitality and transport roles. Short term and long term roles.

Mannval Employment Agency
International Recruitment agency. Fill in the online profile and they will contact you.

Talent.is Ráðgjöf
Large variety of job roles on offer from contract to permanent to short term.

Xpat Jobs
Expat friendly site with job listings specifying English speaking employees in various locations all over Iceland

Wide ranging job site specialising with job listing for Reykjavik with listings from various industries and varying in seniority mostly in education, catering and some skilled

For Icelandic speakers an extensive job site with many listing

There isn’t a government employment service per se but there is the Icelandic EURES website (European Employment Services) which hosts a form which the applicant can fill in their details.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Icelandic Chamber of Commerce
Promotes the interests of the business community in Iceland.
Borgartun 35m 105 Reykjavik
Tel: +354 510 7100
Email: mottaka@vi.is

Start Up Iceland
Sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem which supports and advises small business owners, startups and provides advice, talks and events.
Tel: +354 895 9786
Email: bala@startupiceland.com

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.