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Immigrants with College Degrees Pose Problem for Israel’s Labor Market

Israel may be experiencing too much of a good thing in the relatively high proportion of immigrants with college degrees arriving in the country. Labor Minister Yosef Almogi told the Knesset last night that the economy was not geared to absorb so large an influx of professionals and predicted that finding them employment would be one of the major challenges of 1972.

Almogi said that 10,000 of the 70,000 immigrants expected this year will be holders of academic degrees in the free professions. He noted that this category of immigrants numbered 17,000 over the three years 1969-1971 and represented a 15 percent increase to their sector of the labor force based on the 1968 figures. Other sectors of the labor force experienced a mere three percent increase over the same period, he said.

Almogi stated that the problem of absorbing Russian immigrants with university degrees would be relatively greater than for others because the Russians were used to a different type of economy and pattern of skills. So far, he said, jobs have been readily available for them, with few exceptions. But in 1972 their employment will be a major challenge to the success of the absorption program, he said.

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