Multicultural Information Centre (MCC)

Published on: 07/11/2008
The Multicultural Information Centre is a service portal for immigrants. It contains comprehensive information on state and local government services together with practical information for those taking their first steps in Iceland. The portal is written in in four languages besides Icelandic. The portal is the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Security.

Policy Context

The project started under the policy for the Information society 2004-2007, "Resources to Serve Everyone": "An effort shall be made to make the most important family-related information and services accessible on the Internet as part of the general service utilities provided by state and local governments. The needs of foreigners residing in Iceland are to be particularly considered." The project continues with the support of the new policy for the Information society 2008-2012. "Iceland the e-Nation": "The quality of online public services is to be enhanced by adapting them to the requirements and advantages of the e-citizen. Consideration must be given to the needs and access of all social groups, such as people with handicaps, immigrants, those living in remote areas, foreign business entities, senior citizens and the youngest residents". The project is a National Flagship in e-Government/e-Inclusion with reference to the Ministerial declaration in Lisbon 2007.

Description of target users and groups

Immigrants in Iceland.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The portal is managed by The Multicultural Centre which is located in Isafjordur, in the north-west part of Iceland.

Technology solution

The portal runs on the Eplica product suite for web development. Eplica is a platform independent J2EE based tool. Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

Better service for immigrants Online services save time and money for the immigrants - Access to comprehensive information before moving to Iceland - Decreased strain for agencies dealing with immigrants results in increased quality of the service Encourages learning of the Icelandic language - The same information is available in Icelandic as in the foreign languages - A glossary list is available with the most frequently used words in public texts Better interpretation and translation - A glossary list coordinates and unifies the work of interpreters and translators

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

The portal has been presented to all municipalities in Iceland. It has also been presented to the labor unions. Promotional visit cards are available at the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration, The National Registry and at The Intercultural Centre. Posters have been distributed to companies which are depending on foreign work force. The project has been introduced at diverse conferences and meetings in Iceland.

Lessons learnt

1. Complicated and expensive to maintain a portal in many languages. 2. Differences in educational and cultural background of the target group makes it difficult to focus. 3. Differences in legal rights and legal background of citizens from the different countries make translations complicated. The same text does not apply to all. Scope: International, National