Language Separating German Partners

According to a report by Deutsche Welle, Germany’s government-funded international broadcaster, nearly a third of prospective immigrants applying to join their partners in Germany are unable to do so because they fail to pass a basic German test. 

According to data provided by the government to a parliamentary inquiry from the Left Party and shown to the Funke Media Group, last year 16,200 out of 48,130 test takers failed to pass the Deutsch 1 Test. Only applicants who pass the test in their country of residence are allowed to move to Germany to join a spouse unless they are European Union citizens, Americans, Israelis, highly qualified individuals, or spouses of recognized asylum seekers.

The failure rate among Iraqi applicants was particularly high at almost 50%.

“Basic language skills” are defined by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) as “the ability to understand simple sentences, introduce oneself, go shopping, and ask directions. A person should also be able to fill out official forms.”

The language test only serves “to keep families separated from each other for many years,” Left Party parliamentarian Gökay Akbulut told the Funke Media Group.

“Learning the language in Germany would be much easier, cheaper, and less burdensome for those impacted,” she added.

However, the government’s integration commissioner, Annette Widmann-Mauz of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), defended the regulations.

Immigrants need to have basic language skills when they arrive “so that they can find their way around from the very beginning and become established in society,” she told Deutsche Welle.

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