Access to the labour market

Access to the Icelandic labour market is generally open to foreign nationals. Icelandic citizenship is not a prerequisite for access to employment. That principle also applies within the public sector. 


EEA nationals

The labour market is open to citizens of countries that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Under EEA law, specifically the principle of freedom of movement, EEA nationals and their family members enjoy certain rights regarding access to the labour markets of other EEA countries. The rules that apply are based on the principle of non-discrimination and equal treatment between EEA nationals.

Third country nationals

Third country nationals, referring to individuals who are citizens of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA), are required to obtain employment permits to immigrate to Iceland and work.

The permits serve as authorization for third country nationals to legally work in Iceland and are subject to specific requirements and conditions set by Icelandic immigration laws and regulations.

For further information please contact the Directorate of Labour.


Differential treatment of employees based on their nationality in terms of recruitment and career advancement, wage determination, other terms and conditions of employment, and dismissals, is prohibited by law.

It is unlawful to treat employees differently based on their gender, gender identity, where they come from, their religion, beliefs, disability, health conditions, age, who they are attracted to, how they express their gender, or any characteristics related to gender.

Employers must take the right steps to help people with disabilities or health conditions to get jobs, move up in their careers, and get training, so long as those measures are not unduly burdensome.

Specific requirements

In some areas, in particular health care services, employees must comply with rules on professional qualifications.

Language proficiency may also be required under certain conditions.

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