The findings show that in 2012 alone, some 29,600 workers arrived in Israel with a work permit, compared to 31,600 who left the country. The foreign workers arrived from a total of 100 countries, 68% in Asia and about 30% in Europe.
Former Soviet Union countries top the list with some 5,800 workers (20% of all entries), followed by the Philippines with 5,000 workers (17%), Thailand with 3,800 workers (13%) and India with some 3,400 workers (11%). In addition, about 2,100 workers came from Sri Lanka (7%), some 1,900 from China (6%) and 1,600 from Nepal (5%).
Last year, for the first time, more foreign workers arrived from Bulgaria than from Romania (900 and 800, respectively). The number of workers from developed countries, including the United States (33), Germany (300) and Britain (200) remained unchanged from previous years at 3%, with a total of some 800 workers.
The total number of foreign workers with work permits, who have entered Israel since 1995 and have yet to leave, stood at 108,900 in the end of 2012. Their average age is 39.4, and 52% of them are men. The main countries these workers arrived from over the years are Thailand (24%), the Philippines (23%), former USSR countries (10%), Romania (9%), China (7%) and India (7%).
The number of workers who entered Israel with a tourist visa and without a work permit went up slightly from 2011 (93,000 compared to 92,000). This number is based on the assumption that tourists from undeveloped countries who stay in Israel after their visa expires do so for work purposes.
The countries leading in the number of workers who entered as tourists are former USSR countries with 56% of the workers, followed by small numbers from countries like Jordan, Mexico, Turkey, Colombia, India, Egypt, Nepal and Peru.
The CBS notes that from 1995 to 2001 the number of foreign workers who entered Israel as tourists went up steadily, reaching a record number of 139,000. A downside trend began in 2002 and lasted till late 2005 – with 80,000 workers.
The upside trend resumed in 2006, ending in 2008 with 107,000 workers. In 2009 the downside trend in the number of workers entering with a tourist permit resumed, but this year saw a slight increase.
The report also says that based on figures of the Population and Immigration Authority, in 2012 some 10,000 infiltrators entered Israel and their number in Israel reached a total of some 54,000 infiltrators, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan.