Oz unit in action
Photo: Ofer Amram
Protest against the deportation of foreign workers
Photo: Yaron Brener
Chinese foreign workers
Photo: Ofer Amram
Knesset report points to failed gov't policy on foreign workers
A report authored by the Knesset Research and Information Center indicates number of foreign workers living illegally within Israel, woman trafficking cases increased during 2009, pointing to lack of implemented policies by government
A report composed by the Knesset Research and Information Center accuses the government for having a failed enforcement policy, a conflict of interest and lacking implementation of decisions regarding the handling of foreign workers.


The report was composed ahead of a joint meeting of the special committee on foreign workers and a sub committee on the fight against woman trafficking scheduled to take place Wednesday.


The report determines that "the State of Israel has no immigration policy, no regulated policy towards foreign workers, asylum seekers, illegal aliens, and human trafficking victims. In each of these cases there are laws and regulations; however these are established as a response to certain events, and not as a result of a planned and organized discussion."


A foreign worker who arrived in Israel legally and stays in the country beyond his permit duration, becomes an illegal alien. The report determines that tens of thousands of foreign workers became illegal aliens "as a result of a failed enforcement policy".


The authors of the report say that policies set by the government call for the number of foreign workers to be reduced, however in reality their numbers are increasing.


3,132 deported in over three months

The government set goals for the removal of illegal aliens, planning to deport 20,000 illegals during 2009 and 44,000 more in the next two years.


The authors of the report say the immigration authority "will not be able to achieve the set goals", stating that since the establishment of the Ministry of Interior's Oz enforcement unit back in July, only 3,132 illegal aliens have been deported.



Illegal  aliens behind bars (Photo: Shaul Golan)


Despite the existing policy to reduce the number of illegal aliens, governmental sources told the authors of the report that "due to existing interests between Israel and the foreign workers' countries of origin, the State of Israel is not interested in or able to cut back on the number of foreign workers, or fight against the corruption and illegitimacies in the process of their entry to Israel." 


The report also states that the government never executed its decision to issue biometric identification cards for the foreign workers, claiming that internal disagreements between the Ministry of Interior and The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor compromised supervision and enforcement of over these matters.


Lacking care for foreigners' children

The report discussed the 1,800 children of foreign workers, who are living in Israel without status, stating that "handling of this subject is seriously lacking. The government does not execute its decisions over long periods of time, leading to constant cycles of public debate and deportations, without the implementation of a consistent policies"


Human trafficking was also mentioned in the report. According to police figures, there is an alarming increase in the number of woman trafficking cases. During the first eight months of 2009, 331 cases of related charges were reported, compared with only 179 in 2008. Despite these figures, since its establishment, the Oz unit has not managed to obtain any intelligence leading to criminal investigations of human trafficking.


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