Working in Iceland is not beyond reach, especially if you’re already a resident of the European Union; however, there are some important tips and background information you should know before you start your search for employment while abroad.
Iceland is a small island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Norway and Greenland. Because of its size, there aren't many bustling metropolitan areas besides its capital, Reykjavík, which has a population of around 122,000 citizens, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of opportunities for foreigners to find jobs during their stay.
Whether you're visiting Iceland for a few months or studying for a semester overseas, having a job to earn a little extra money for your day-to-day expenses can greatly offset the cost of your travels.
Work Visa Requirements
Iceland does not have any job market restrictions for citizens of other European Economic Area (EAA) countries or those in the EU. If you have citizenship to either of these areas, you will not need a work permit in Iceland but should officially register your plans to relocate to Iceland for further assistance. All others should check with their local Icelandic embassies for work visa requirements first.
American tourists hoping to work in Iceland will need to submit applications for one of three work/residence permits to the Immigration Directorate or the nearest District Commissioner's office in Iceland via their online visa page. Work visas are only given based on temporary shortage of laborers, for qualified professionals, or for professional athletes.
Job Opportunities for Visitors and Expats
Thanks to an economic boom in tourism in the mid-2010s and the country's rising popularity, more and more people are coming to Iceland, meaning jobs are opening up everywhere. The most available positions are service and hospitality jobs. In fact, a third of the jobs created between 2011 and 2016 have been in tourism.
In the late 2000s, Iceland was in a serious financial recession. However, with the rising tourist rate, the economy is now flourishing—perhaps too much. In fact, 15,000 jobs are available in 2019, but Iceland's workforce has only hit 8,000 people. This means that roughly 7,000 workers from abroad will be needed to fill the available roles, so there are plenty of opportunities to find well-paying work here.
Looking for a Job
Jobs in Iceland aren't very hard to come by if you're a good, helpful worker with the intent of staying in the country for a while legally. If you're already in Iceland, take a look at local newspapers or simply ask around as most jobs are passed on through word-of-mouth. Another easy option is to look at job websites. For English-speakers, there are many popular English sites that regularly post Icelandic job listings:
If you already speak Icelandic, your job prospects in Iceland increase tenfold. Keep track of current openings by applying to positions found on these Icelandic job pages: