Open borders for the flow of knowledge

This article was originally published on Fréttablaðið (https://www.frettabladid.is/kynningar/opin-landamri-fyrir-ekkingarfli/) on January 28, 2021.

In total, about 560 people work at Itera and Hulda Guðmundsdóttir is the company's Director of Business Development Iceland.

We are experts in creating sustainable digital business, and our customers are companies that achieve their goals with smart communication and technology use.

For the past five years, Itera has been on the list of Norway's most innovative companies, across industries.

"We work on different projects for a number of international companies in all major industries. Many of these companies are among the leading in the world in various industries, including companies in banking and insurance, health sector, fisheries sector, services and retail, energy and utility as well as public institutions and companies."

A big positive step

Hulda says that in the economic crisis and technological revolution we are now facing, it is clear that modern societies will undergo enormous changes in the coming years and decades. "The economic base of nations and their prosperity will also be increasingly based on ingenuity, knowledge, innovation and technology."

In Guðmundsdóttir opinion, one of the main challenges for Iceland as a society in responding to a pandemic is that there is a great shortage of technically educated people in certain specialties.

Diversity will be key to success, because we are not only competing with other nations for the sale of what is produced here, but also for talented people.

Hulda says that a big positive step has been taken with an amendment to the Regulation on Foreigners, no. 540/2017. It enables foreign nationals from certain countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to stay in Iceland for up to six months and work for foreign companies remotely.

"I think the change in the law is positive and a new promotional campaign related to this, called Work in Iceland, is very cool and promising. Now we need to take the next step and make the application process simple because it is complex, especially considering that we are talking about human capital."

We need good people

She cites as an example a coworker in Ukraine who has sought-after expertise.

"The employee works every day to look for opportunities for himself and his family and ends up elsewhere if the process is not user-friendly in this country. Of course, it would be best if the process was electronic and user-oriented. Every extra day it takes to realise this application process is a missed opportunity to attract qualified people with the right skills for the Icelandic economy. We really need diverse people to take part in innovation and value creation that benefits us", Guðmundsdóttir concludes.