Germany relaxes immigration rules for Jews from former Soviet Union
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Germany relaxes immigration rules for Jews from former Soviet Union

Jewish immigrants 60 and older, as well as disabled adults of any age, won’t need a forecast of integration into German society; rules for family reunification to be loosened

German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers the questions of deputies at Bundestag in Berlin, Germany on December 18, 2019. (Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images via JTA)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers the questions of deputies at Bundestag in Berlin, Germany on December 18, 2019. (Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images via JTA)

BERLIN (JTA) — Prospective Jewish immigrants to Germany from nations of the former Soviet Union will have an easier time under relaxed regulations announced by the German government.

The new rules will primarily impact older and disabled Jews. Jewish immigrants 60 and older, as well as disabled adults of any age, will soon no longer be required to partake in an “Integrationsprognose” – a prognosis or forecast of integration into German society. Regulations pertaining to family reunification for parents and Jewish spouses also will be relaxed.

Germany has long been a popular destination for Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, counting more than 200,000 Jewish immigrants since 1990. Although immigration to Germany has been made easier since that time, leaving some of the former Soviet nations remains challenging. Over recent decades, an increasing number of families have been separated due to strict immigration rules.

“With the new rules for Jewish immigrants, the federal government has come to a socially responsible decision, fulfilling its historical responsibility,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement Wednesday. “For that, the Jewish community is very thankful.”

Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, attends a press conference following his election in Frankfurt am Main, central Germany, on November 30, 2014. (AFP/Daniel Roland)

More than half of new arrivals to Germany join Jewish communities there, the Jüdische Allgemeine reported. According to the Central Council, the number is as high as 90 percent in some cases.

They are welcomed in a community that, according to Deutschlandfunk, loses approximately 1,000 members every year.

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