Who stays, who goes

On August 1, the government decided on a set of criteria that must be met for a child of foreign workers to be granted permanent residency, giving parents of migrant children 21 working days (August 8-31) to apply to the Interior Ministry for such status. According to the decision, children whose parents do not apply and who do not meet the conditions for permanent residency are required to leave the country by the end of this month. Those who do apply and are turned down are required to leave within 30 days after their rejection.
The decision says a migrant child will be granted permanent residency if he or she meets all of the following criteria: attended Israeli public school, from kindergarten through 12th grade, during the past school year; is registered for first grade through 12th grade in the coming school year; has lived in Israel continuously for the past five years; was born in Israel or entered the country before turning 13; speaks Hebrew; and whose parents entered Israel on a legal visa or permit.
The government estimates that of the 1,200 migrant children in the country, 800 meet all the criteria and 400 don’t. (Parents of children granted permanent residency can apply for temporary residency one year at a time until the child turns 21, after which the parents may themselves apply for permanent residency.) However, Sigal Rozen of the NGO Hotline for Migrant Workers and Tamar Schwartz of Mesila, the Tel Aviv Municipality agency for migrant workers and asylum-seekers, say the actual number of children who do not meet all the criteria, and who thus would be slated for deportation, is closer to 1,000.
They say some children whom the government considers “safe” are in fact too young to go to first grade next year, while some spent time in their home countries during the past five years, and others among the government’s “lucky 800” actually fall short for some other minor reason.
According to the government decision, an interministerial committee to consider “borderline cases” is being established.