Is­rael ex­tends visa for il­le­gal worker youth

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER TEL AVIV

THE GOV­ERN­MENT WILL al­low 1,200 chil­dren of for­eign work­ers whose visas have ex­pired to re­main in Is­rael un­til the end of the school year, next July.

Pre­vi­ously, the gov­ern­ment had ruled that the chil­dren, most of whom were born and raised in Is­rael, would have to leave with their fam­i­lies by Novem­ber 1, but it re­versed its de­ci­sion fol­low­ing a pub­lic out­cry.

The de­ci­sion high­lights the dif­fi­culty of for­mu­lat­ing a con­sis­tent pol­icy on an es­ti­mated 400,000 for­eign work­ers, close to three quar­ters of whom lack a valid work visa.

The gov­ern­ment has de­cided to re­move 100,000 of them over the next three years. Six months ago, it set up a unit of the In­te­rior Min­istry, the OZ Unit, to lo­cate and ap­pre­hend work­ers be­fore de­por­ta­tion.

Crit­ics of the pol­icy claim that the work­ers’ chil­dren should be ex­empted from de­por­ta­tion. They also claim the pol­icy is in­ef­fec­tive. In the last three months, 700 for­eign work­ers were de­ported af­ter be­ing caught by the OZ unit and an­other 2,400 left of their own ac­cord.

Around 3,600 new work­ers were al­lowed to ar­rive legally and count­less oth­ers were smug­gled over Is­rael’s south­ern bor­der.

The Hot­line for Mi­grant Work­ers lobby called for the gov­ern­ment to stop bring­ing in new work­ers in­stead of act­ing against those al­ready in Is­rael. The hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions also claim there is no need to “hunt down” the il­le­gal work­ers, as three quar­ters of them leave of their own ac­cord.

This week, a group of res­i­dents in south Tel Aviv formed the Cam­paign to Move Il­le­gal Work­ers up North. The old-timers in Tel Aviv’s poorer neigh­bour­hoods claim that they suf­fer the most from the pres­ence of the for­eign work­ers and are de­mand­ing that the au­thor­i­ties find homes for them in the city’s more af­flu­ent ar­eas.

On Mon­day they at­tacked the hu­man rights ac­tivists “who all come from Ra­mat Aviv and don’t have to see the for­eign work­ers in their daily lives”.

IS­RAEL may be fac­ing a del­uge of African refugees cross­ing its south­ern bor­der from the Si­nai.

A se­nior IDF of­fi­cer who briefed a spe­cial Knes­set sub-com­mit­tee on for­eign work­ers said that as many as “a mil­lion refugees are wait­ing in Egypt to cross over to Is­rael”.

The refugees, many of them from war-torn

Chil­dren of for­eign work­ers without valid work visas demon­strate against their own de­por­ta­tion

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