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High Visa Fees Will Prevent 70% of Jewish College Graduates from Leaving

Three Jewish families who arrived from the Soviet Union this week said that 70 percent of the Jewish college graduates who want to emigrate to Israel will be prevented from doing so because of the exorbitant visa fees demanded from Jews who received a higher education in the USSR. The families, Feldman, Moseson and Spiers, said they each paid 5000 rubles, the equivalent of $5500, for their visas. The fees were relatively low because the family heads did their studying at a night school.

A Dutch member of Amnesty International who recently visited the Soviet Union claimed that the high visa fees are in fact encouraging more Russian Jews to emigrate. In a letter to Mrs. Bella Ravdin, the Israeli representative of the London-based organization that aids political prisoners, the Dutch member reported that even Jews who had not contemplated emigration are now considering it.

He said Jews who are completing their studies in Russia find it difficult to get jobs because prospective employers ask “Why should I engage you? You will emigrate after a short time,” the Dutch official wrote.

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