Volunteering in Iceland
Volunteers come to Iceland either via volunteer or au pair organisations.
Most volunteers work for food and accomodation, some receive small compensation, au pairs receive a stipend, some volunteers even pay participation fees.
In Iceland, volunteer work is only supposed to be done in the context of non-profit/charity work, and is not allowed for commercial purposes.
We did not receive many testimonies from volunteers: most of the reports were observations made by foreign wage employees at the same workplaces.
The short nature of their stays and their social isolation may have contributed to only a few volunteers sharing their experiences with us.
The reality of volunteers in Iceland
Performing unpaid commercial labor
Lack of contracts
Inadequate food and housing
Pressure to work long hours, even when sick
Isolation, higher risk of abuse and harassment
Most volunteers leave if their conditions worsen and do not report abuse
Volunteers are an especially vulnerable group of workers due to their dependence on the employer for accomodation, their lack of sufficient wages to be able to escape an abusive situation, and that their right to bein Iceland depends on their ongoing volunteering.
More about the Au Pairs situation in Iceland, see W.O.M.E.N. – Association of foreign women in Iceland
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