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Unemployment affects lives: interview

27.10.2020 - 13:12
Nearly 4,000 Poles in Iceland are registered as jobseekers. One tells RÚV she applies for jobs most days but has so far found nothing. She says many of her compatriots are struggling to cope with the situation.

“Suddenly you have a lot of free time, and also this stress, hanging there, and you just think ‘I need to do something’. It’s a bit of a stressful situation, but we just have to deal with it,” says Karolina Kryspowicka-Lisińska. Karolina lives on the Suðurnes peninsula and has been without a job for nearly three months. 

7,670 jobseekers in Iceland are overseas citizens, which is around 40 percent of the total unemployed population. That also means that the unemployment rate among non-Icelandic citizens is around 20 percent—not including those on reduced hours. Half of them, or 3,850, are from Poland.  

Karolina says she applies for jobs nearly every day and has not even been offered an interview so far. She is an English teacher and has been using her extra time to teach friends and relatives English. She would like to carry on in teaching, whether at pre-school or primary school level. 

“I try to apply all over, but it isn’t easy, because I don’t speak perfect Icelandic and in many job adverts, Icelandic is a requirement.” 

So, it’s hard to compete with the Icelanders? “A little bit, yes. But I don’t want to complain about it because it was my decision not to start learning the language right away.” 

Karolina and her husband have lived in Iceland for three years. He worked at Keflavík International Airport but lost his job due to the pandemic. They have a ten-year-old son. They know many in the same situation: “Many of my friends are unemployed. And definitely more of them are Polish people, I would say. Many of them don’t feel very well [mentally].” 

The video above includes interview segments in English. 

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