Only 701 requests to receive legal status in Israel have been lodged by foreign migrants' children with the Interior Ministry. Tuesday marked the end of the period allotted for filing the residency requests. The requests were filed on behalf of 1,035 children and 1,027 parents. Only 85 requests were turned down due to failure to meet the criteria set by the government.
Families whose requests were turned down are required to leave the country within 30 days.
Population and Immigration Authority head Yossi Edelstein told Ynet, "I hope that despite the holiday season we will be able to complete the process in the coming month so that (foreign workers) will no longer have to live in uncertainty."
"We will gladly assist in the purchase of plane tickets for those families that wish to leave Israel," he said.
The Hotline for Migrant Workers addressed the relatively low number of requests for legal status.
"This proves that the figures presented by Interior Minister Eli Yishai were inflated. He spoke of 20,000 foreign workers' children living in Israel. The 400 or 500 children who will remain in Israel will not change the State of Israel's character. Giving them residency status is the decent and humane thing to do," the hotline said in a statement.
The hotline plans to file 12 separate appeals on behalf children whose requests for residency status have been denied.
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