For those who want to avoid the second wave of epidemic blockade, a new “escape route” has emerged. Earlier this month, Iceland launched an entry scheme for citizens outside the Schengen region of Europe. Under the scheme, the United States and others who do not need a visa to enter Iceland can stay in Iceland for six months, provided that the applicant is rich enough.
Iceland’s immigration plan requires applicants to provide proof of income with a monthly salary of more than 1 million Icelandic kroner 4850EURO, and the applicant must also have health insurance. In addition, the applicant’s workplace must be outside Iceland.
“I think this plan is to attract high-paying professionals from Silicon Valley or San Francisco to spend money in Iceland, not in the United States,” explained former parliament Asta Gudrun Helgadottir, a member of the Pirate Party of Iceland. Although the habitual “guests” are not strictly tourists, Iceland hopes that these rich people can rent unused Airbnb houses and “explore the country like tourists”.
Iceland is not the first country to introduce a similar entry plan. Countries and regions such as Bermuda, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Estonia have also used this strategy to earn some income during the downturn in tourism in the epidemic. But Iceland seems to attract the rich in a unique way. Compared with entering Bermuda, there is only a $263 application fee (170EURO).
Icelandic natives interviewed by Bloomberg believe that the government’s planned goal is to promote investment, and income proof will effectively prevent immigrants from competing with Icelanders for jobs.
Iceland, with a population of only about 350,000, has also taken effective measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic. Since March this year, Iceland has only about 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths.