The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Legal review: rights of migrant workers in Israel - voila! Sentence


Despite the intervention of the High Court, the situation of the rights of foreign workers in Israel is still far from being fair compared to other Western countries

There are about 30,000 asylum seekers in Israel, the vast majority from Eritrea and Sudan (Photo: ShutterStock)

Israel, like any western country, needs external personnel to fill the gaps in the local labor market.

In the past, Palestinian workers were widely employed in the areas of the Green Line, but the escalation of the conflict caused the country, starting in the 1990s, to look for foreign workers overseas, in order to enable cheap labor, especially in industries where the wages are low and it is relatively difficult to obtain labor for them Local work, such as: nursing, agriculture, construction, etc.

These workers mainly come from countries where living and earning conditions are more difficult, such as Thailand, Philippines, Turkey, Moldova, Romania, China and more.

The bringing of tens of thousands of foreign workers to Israel each year greatly influenced the field of immigration to Israel and presented Israel with unexpected challenges.

The Ministry of the Interior is working to prevent the settlement of foreign workers

The immigration authorities are trying to prevent the settlement of foreign workers in Israel.

Therefore, work permits for foreign citizens are given for limited periods only, usually up to 63 months.

In the beginning, migrant workers in Israel were employed through strict "binding arrangements", which meant permission to work only for a certain employer.

Often, the work period with the employer ends before the work visa expires, either due to the employee's departure due to degrading working conditions or treatment, or due to dismissal for unjustified reasons.

In this situation, with the foreign worker remaining in Israel, he becomes an illegal resident who may be deported from Israel.

In 2006, the High Court of Justice accepted the petition of the "Employee Line" and the "HaMoked for Refugees and Immigrants" and defined the binding arrangements as modern slavery. Today, workers in the nursing industry can change employers if they find another that is interested in them, but section 24 of the Law on Entry into Israel, which came into effect in 2014 , limits this to regions and a number of employers per year. In addition, workers who left an employer voluntarily cannot receive a humanitarian visa, for example.

Can a foreign worker upgrade his status to permanent residency in Israel after several years?

The short answer is no. Contrary to the usual situation in Western countries, it is possible to upgrade his status to a residence visa Permanent (that is, obtaining residency or naturalization) is denied in advance from migrant workers.

There are only rare cases, such as marriage to an Israeli citizen, in which a person who enters Israel as a foreign worker will be able to stay in Israel for the long term.

The reason for banning the immigration of foreign workers to Israel is the policy of the Ministry of the Interior to maintain the Jewish image of the country and allow immigration mainly for Jews and their descendants - immigrants - based on the Law of Return.

Decker Fax - Attorney Ariel Galili (Photo: Shiri Decker)

What about asylum seekers - what is their status according to labor laws?

In total, there are approximately 30,000 asylum seekers in Israel (as of 2022), the vast majority from Eritrea and Sudan, who have temporary residence permits, but these are considered de facto by the Ministry of the Interior to be illegal migrant workers.

On the one hand, the state refuses to grant them legal work permits, but on the other hand, decides not to enforce the ban on their employment on their employers.

The result is that asylum seekers actually work and are entitled to worker's rights in Israel, according to labor laws.

The difficulty facing migrant workers and asylum seekers

If so, there is a constant tension between the state's desire not to open its doors to any kind, and even to make it difficult for migrant workers, infiltrators and asylum seekers to lead a normal lifestyle in Israel, and economic interests:

First, the constant search for cheap labor for jobs that Israelis do not fill due to low wages and harsh working conditions.

Second, the need to allow a minimum livelihood for asylum seekers who are already in Israel.

It should be remembered that many times the Ministry of the Interior does not have the legal option of deporting them, due to international law and the danger to their lives in their homeland.

For example, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's decision, which will come into force in January 2023, to prohibit asylum seekers from working in the big cities, in order to prevent them from settling there, threatens the restaurant industry, which has also suffered since the corona crisis from a severe labor shortage of about 15,000 workers.

The High Court upholds the rights of foreign workers in Israel.

A recent example is a petition to the High Court that was submitted in March of this year by the organization Ko Le Oved and the Center for Refugees and Immigrants against the abusive conditions in which Chinese construction workers are employed.

These are actual conditions of slavery that include guarantees of high amounts (NIS 35-70 thousand) so that they do not move to another company.

In addition, some workers are required to pay "registration fees", a dirty word for illegal brokerage fees in amounts ranging from NIS 5,000 to tens of thousands of NIS and deposits that are not always returned at the end of the job.

The High Court demanded that the employment of the workers be transferred from foreign construction companies to Israeli contracting companies, in order to preserve their rights.

In general, it can be said that although the situation of foreign workers in Israel has improved slightly, a report by the Center for Refugees and Immigrants published at the end of 2021 still reveals serious omissions of the state that allow human trafficking in inhumane conditions.

This is how the state ignores reports of workers employed in slavery conditions, their passports are confiscated and their living conditions are difficult.

The State of Israel, the one that claims to be a Western country that signs international agreements fighting human trafficking for labor purposes, would do well if it set higher standards for itself in regards to the rights of foreign workers in Israel.

The law firm Decker, Fax, Ophir & Co. specializes in immigration, immigration to Israel, visas for foreign workers in Israel, relocation and obtaining visas in Israel and foreign passports in the countries of the European Union.

For more details and to get in touch, you can contact us here or by phone

- 053-9376328

to the office 's website

to the office's legal website page. The

article is courtesy of Zap Legal

. The information presented in the article does not constitute legal advice or a substitute for it and does not constitute a recommendation to take or avoid procedures.

Anyone relying on the information in the article does so at their own risk

Attorney Ariel Galili, in collaboration with zap legal

  • Sentence

  • additional subjects


  • work immigrants

Source: walla

All news articles on 2023-01-01

You may like

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2023-03-27T12:30:21.526Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.