Iceland is a modern European country with a tiny population of just 313,000 people, most of whom live in the capital, Reykjavik. Much of the land is arctic desert with mountains, glaciers and volcanoes. It has geysers and active volcanoes as well as the Blue Lagoon giant natural spa. Many people are attracted to Iceland for its natural beauty and clean, pollution-free environment. Almost all its power is created from hydroelectricity and geothermal power sources. However the intensely cold winters often deter people from moving here permanently.
Iceland is a member of the European Economic Area which gives it access to the market of the European Union, but it is not an EU member. The currency is the Icelandic Krona. It is approximately 3 hours flight from Europe and 5 hours away from America.
Icelanders are known for their work hard, play hard philosophy, and unemployment is very low. They work much longer hours than many Europeans, but at the weekends they can be found in the open air swimming pools, or river rafting, fishing or taking glacier expeditions. There is even a short golf season, although during the summer, midnight golf is also popular as the sun is still shining!
Iceland’s main economies are based on the service industry, fishing, renewable energy resources and banking, although the three largest banks have been taken into Government administration. People moving to Iceland may choose to work in the tourist industry, or possibly in the huge service industry which is still strong. Au pairs are also sought after from Europe. Although the national language is Icelandic, English is spoken almost everywhere. Even EU residents need to check out the visa requirements for working in Iceland. Work permits are generally easily available for Americans providing that an employer will sponsor you. There is an active ex-Pat community in Iceland too.
Real estate is currently very cheap with beautiful apartments with sea views and fitness facilities for less than 75,000 Euros. However, it may be better to rent in the current uncertain market.
Emergency healthcare is available on the same basis as in your home country, so for UK residents, emergency healthcare is free. However, check out the details to see whether you will need healthcare insurance for a long stay in Iceland.