While only a few hundred foreign migrants reside in Haifa, the city is already taking steps aimed at preventing it from becoming another south Tel Aviv: A missive that was recently distributed among local businesses said they would lose their license unless they fire any foreigners who are being employed illegally.
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According to a Channel 2 report, which was aired Monday, city inspectors visited local businesses to check whether they were employing foreigners who did not carry a work permit.
The measure followed protests in a number of other Israeli cities against the constant influx of African migrants into the country.
The memorandum read: "According to information obtained by our offices, it appears that you are employing foreigners who do not have work permits. You are required to put an immediate end to these workers' activity."
In the letter, the city threatened to take legal action against business owners who fail to comply. One of the measures, the municipality stressed, includes revoking the said business' licenses, a move that would ultimately lead to their closure.
A local business owner said city inspectors began searching for illegal foreign workers last week. "I have an Eritrean worker who has both work and residency permits. I told this to the inspector, but it did not interest him. A few days later I received a phone call from a senior city official who warned that my license would be revoked if I didn't fire (the worker), and yesterday I got the letter telling me that I have to fire him or risk losing my license.
"Without a license it would be very difficult for me to keep the business up and running," he said.
The business owner said he employs Jews, Muslims, Christians and one Eritrean. "They are good workers who are willing to do everything and treat their work seriously. There is a sense that they are trying to drive the (African workers) away from the area by threatening us. Eventually they will be forced to roam the country like gypsies," he said.