foreign workers' kids 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The state promised the High Court of Justice on Tuesday that a foreign worker
family lacking residential status with children who meet the criteria for
remaining in Israel will not be deported just because it cannot obtain a
document required by the Interior Ministry by the deadline set by the
According to the cabinet decision of August 1, which paved
the way for some of the estimated 1,200 children of parents currently living in
Israel without a permit to stay indefinitely, families whose children met the
government criteria are required to register at the offices of the Population,
Immigration and Border Authority by August 31.
The cabinet decision
granted the families another 21 days to obtain the documents they did not have
in their possession at the time they submitted their applications to remain in
Israel, that is until September 21.
As a result of these deadlines, five
human rights organizations – Israeli Children, Hotline for Migrant Workers, the
Association for Human Rights in Israel, the Israel Religious Action Center and
Workers’ Hotline – petitioned the High Court. They demanded that the Interior
Ministry extend the deadline to give those eligible to remain three months to
apply for residential status and get hold of all the necessary documents, saying
that the time allotted by the government was insufficient.
concerns were that some of the families would not learn about the cabinet
decision until their children returned to school in September and that it could
take many months for families coming from certain countries to renew their
However the state’s representative, attorney Aner Hellman,
promised that “so long as a family has received confirmation that their
application is being examined, the state will not be able to deport them” during
the examination process.
He added that the main point of the deadlines
set by the government was to establish a framework for the application process.
The state also wanted an idea of how many families had children who were
eligible, on the face of it, to remain in the country, and how many families
with children were not and could be deported before their children began a new
school year in Israel.
Hellman said the Interior Ministry was well aware
that some countries take four or more months to issue a new passport, and that
this would be taken into account.
“To the extent that a family is lacking
a document, we will find a solution for that particular family, and I don’t even
want to be limited to 90 days [the maximum the petitioners had requested –
D.I.),” Hellman said.
The court was satisfied with the state’s promise.
However, it added in its ruling that should it turn out that some families had
not heard of the government decision and therefore submitted their applications
after August 31, the Interior Ministry would not reject them out of hand but
would examine each one to assess on an individual basis why their applications
came in late.
Attorney Yonatan Berman of the Hotline for Migrant Workers
told reporters he was satisfied with the outcome of the hearing even though the
court formally rejected the petition.