NGOs praise repeal of ruling on pregnant foreign workers

Interior Ministry procedure that required foreign workers to leave the country three months after they give birth called by High Court.

April 14, 2011 02:48
2 minute read.
Foreign workers' children protest

Foreign workers children 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Israeli NGOs on Wednesday praised a High Court decision earlier in the day that canceled an Interior Ministry procedure that required foreign workers to leave the country three months after they give birth – and return without their child – to retain their work visas.

“We bless the court decision, and hope that the courts will continue to restrain the authorities who are harming migrant workers.”

The statement, which was issued by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Kav Laoved, Physicians for Human Rights, Hotline for Migrant Workers and Na’amat, continued: “most of the women who the Interior Ministry is working to deport today with their children lost their legal work status because of the procedure.

This constitutes a small group of women who came to Israel legally on the invite of the state, until their permits were taken from them because of giving birth.”

In her final ruling upon retirement, Judge Ayala Procaccia said that “the forcing of a woman to choose between continuing to work – a decision based on legitimate economic expectations – and her right to be a mother, is not consistent with the legislative and legal morals of Israeli society.”

She added that the regulation “harmed the legal right of a foreign worker to be a parent.”

Procaccia made the decision on the same day she marked the end of her service on the high court.

The move followed a petition filed in 2005 by ACRI, Kav Laoved, Physicians for Human Rights, Hotline for Migrant Workers and Na’amat against the National Insurance Institute and the Interior Ministry. The petition called on the courts to allow pregnant foreign workers to remain in the country after their children’s birth, and continue to work legally until they complete the approved amount of work time on their visa.

For the first time in Israel, a foreign worker and her six-month-old baby were deported in March. The deportation followed a ruling made by the government last August to deport 400 children who did not meet a series of criteria which would allow them to stay in Israel.

The mother first came to Israel as part of a group of Nigerian Christian pilgrims, and stayed after her tourism visa expired, eventually giving birth to a baby in Israel.

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