New restrictions for Jews settling in Germany
Berlin is planning to make Jews wanting to settle in Germany qualify for the first time on a points system already in place for other would-be residents.
Germany has operated an open-door policy for Jewish migrants ever since the end of WW2 as atonement for the Holocaust engineered by the Nazis which killed six million people. The new restrictions follow recent concerns about integration and reflect Germany's economic problems with unemployment at nearly five million.
Tens of thousands of Jewish migrants arrive annually: last year more settled in Germany than in Israel, most of them from the former Soviet Union.
But now the government wants to regulate the influx with a points system based on education, religious orientation and profession. According to news magazine Der Spiegel, only those Jews who amass at least 50 out of 105 points will be allowed to settle in Germany.
Exceptions will be made for victims of Nazism. Applicants will be evaluated on criteria including age, education, work experience, family status, language ability, relationship to Germany, and country of origin.
Those who meet the required standard will be entitled to move to Germany without having to show proof of employment beforehand. According to Spiegel, the interior ministers of the 16 states of Germany have already agreed to the plan being run in a pilot scheme for one year.
A university graduate will automatically gain 20 points, experience in a profession 10 points, the likelihood of working with Jewish organisations a further 10 points and a good working knowledge of German 25 points.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Nuremberg will be in charge of administering the tests which government sources say are necessary to stop Jewish organisations in the country being overwhelmed in years to come.
Critics of the open-door policy claim many Jews arriving in Germany have no affinity with the religion whatsoever and have never worshipped in a synagogue but arrive hoping for handouts from Jewish charities.
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