An African migrant holds an Israeli flag after being released from the Holot detention center in the Negev.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The cabinet on Sunday approved a preliminary version of a law that would encourage illegal migrants to leave the country by mandating that 36 percent of the migrant’s salary be put into an account that the worker would receive only after leaving the country.
Twenty percent of this would be deducted from the worker’s salary, with the employer obligated to set aside another 16%.
The scheme is part of an effort to encourage migrants to leave the country voluntarily, either to their land of origin or to a third country.
The purpose of this particular law is to increase the cost to employers of hiring migrants.
According to figures the Interior Ministry provided the cabinet on Sunday, some 2,004 migrants voluntarily left the country in 2016, bring to 14,411 the number who have done so since 2013.
The figures were presented as part of a briefing to the cabinet on the migrant worker phenomenon, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that the phenomenon of infiltration across the border from Egypt has been almost completely shut down.
“Now that we have almost completely stopped the infiltration phenomenon to Israel we need to continue to work to move forward ways to get those in the country to leave,” Netanyahu said.
Interior Minister Arye Deri said that while in the past tens of thousands of migrants came into the country, so far this year only 18 people have managed to illegally infiltrate the border from Egypt.
According to the figures provided the cabinet, there are presently 147,000 illegal foreigners in Israel, of whom some 41,000 are illegal African migrants. The bulk of the remaining 106,000 illegal foreigners are tourists here on expired visas, with a small percentage being made up of foreign workers whose work permits have expired. These numbers do not include Palestinians in the country illegally.