Parliament calls for Jewish immigration limits

19th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 January 2005 , BERLIN - The German parliament's Home Affairs Committee said on Wednesday that Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union should continue, but urged de facto limits by calling for migrants to undergo German language tests and checks on their employment qualities. Dieter Wiefelspuetz, the committee spokesman from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD), said that in the future there would have to be a stronger emphasis on integration for Jews arriving in Germany. "There

19 January 2005 

BERLIN - The German parliament's Home Affairs Committee said on Wednesday that Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union should continue, but urged de facto limits by calling for migrants to undergo German language tests and checks on their employment qualities.

Dieter Wiefelspuetz, the committee spokesman from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD), said that in the future there would have to be a stronger emphasis on integration for Jews arriving in Germany.

"There should still be Jewish immigrants in the future," he said.

The German government is seeking hammer out a deal on limiting Jewish immigration with Germany's 16 Laender, the federal states, and the country's Central Council of Jews, which is wary about any restrictions.

Agreement on a new Jewish immigration law may not be achieved until summer given that the government wants a green light from the Central Council of Jews. Among criteria being considered to cut Jewish immigration are imposing language tests and an employability ranking system.

In the meantime, some 27,000 Jews who have already applied and received a green light to come to Germany will be admitted under the old regulations, officials say.

German-Jewish leaders are seeking to win visas for a further 27,000 who have applied but not yet received an answer under the old system which basically allows anybody from the former Soviet Union who can prove they are Jewish - or had at least one Jewish parent - to settle in Germany.

The German government says about 190,000 Jews have come to Germany as immigrants from the former USSR since 1991. Prior to this Germany's Jewish community numbered less than 30,000 and had been in danger of dying out given its rapid ageing.

Berlin opened its door to Jews under a deal in 1990 between then chancellor Helmut Kohl and German Jewish leaders in the run-up to German reunification.

The move was partly to aid Jews suffering from anti-Semitism in the former East Bloc and partly German realpolitik aimed at showing the country responsible for the Holocaust was so transformed that it had become attractive for Jewish immigrants.

Israel has long been unhappy over the large number of Jews choosing to settle in Germany and the Israeli embassy in Berlin says its goal is to get Jewish immigrants to go to Israel.

DPA

Subject: German news

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