Israeli government polices towards foreign workers: history and Impact Since the 1967 war, there was a growing number of foreign workers employed by Israeli employers. First the Palestinian cheap labors, then came the migration workers from eastern and south-east Asia, as well as those from north Africa and some European countries. The relatively higher salary and the sufficient Job vacancies attracted foreign workers to this land and became a vulnerable group in the Israeli society.
In this procession, the government played a crucial role In recruiting foreign workers as ell as In rejecting the growing quotas petitioned by domestic employers who are seeking for cheap labors. This article aims to give a review of Israeli government policies towards foreign workers according to the chronic order, in order to have a clear understanding of the evolution and changing attitudes of government on this issue, and also the deep impacts on the foreign labor market as well as foreign workers themselves in Israel.
History of the government policies towards foreign workers Periods: 1948—-1967 After the establishment of the State of Israel nil 948, there was a mass legislation. There are two of the laws worthy of attention: The Law of Entry (1952) and Law of Return (1950). These two laws stipulated the citizenship of Jewish people in Israel, giving an privilege to those Jewish refugees to settle in Israel, but they failed to provide a legal statues for those who are non-Jews that temporarily stayed, or in our case, worked In Israel. This resulted in a dilemma for the foreign workers.
On the one hand, they are temporary residence in Israel, Engaging In low status Jobs and paying taxes to the country; on the other hand, they can’t enjoy the equal rights as Israeli tizzies. Their rights and statues are largely controlled by the Ministries of Labor and the Inferior, who usually treat foreign workers in a injustice way. Besides these two laws, the Employment Service Law legislated in 1959 stipulates that ” The Employment Service shall be under the general supervisions of the Minister of Labor and Social Falls”l, and also, foreign workers must be mediated by private employment agencies.
The government gives out the responsibility to private agencies to allocate the foreign workers in Israel, which increases the instability of he conditions of foreign workers, and the discriminative attitudes of the supervision ministries again can’t provide sufficient protections to foreign workers. Periods: 1967—-1992 During these two decades, the government polices mainly oriented upon Palestinian workers. As a consequence of the Six-Day War, large numbers of Palestinian workers flew into the labor market of Israel, engaged in low status jobs such as construction and agriculture.
This is the first time after the establishment of the state that a mass and planned flow of foreign workers into Israel, and more ironically, they were there unfriendly neighbors. From 1967 to 1969, during which there was no official actions towards the Palestinian workers, there were small number of Illegal workers crossing dealing with the impact of these cheap labors. In the year of 1969, Israel government began to issue permits to Palestinian workers, but under harsh standards. The reason why the government finally decided to release the restrictions towards Palestinian workers mainly lies in two aspects.
First, during sass, Israeli economy .NET through a great expansion, from infrastructures to agriculture. There was an urgent need of labors in construction and agriculture section. Compared with Israeli domestic workers, Palestinian workers were cheaper and willing to engage in the so called low statues Jobs, which made them more competitive in the labor market, employers preferred them to Jewish workers; Second, from a political perspective, giving permits to Palestinian workers will make them more dependent on Israel and have less national aspirations.
In the following twenty years until 1987, Palestinian Norse played an essential role in Israeli labor market, but always under strict supervisions of relevant ministries as well as military inspections. After the first Initiate in 1987, concerning the security problems caused by Palestinians, Israeli government constrained the permits to Palestinian workers, and turned to seek foreign workers in other parts of the world. Periods: 1993—-2003 The Initiate organized by Palestinians tremendously impacted on the labor market of Israel.
Due to the threatens of suicide bombs conducted by Palestinians in the early 1993, the government had to close the border and sent back the Palestinian Norse. However, after the recession of the sass and sass, in the beginning of the last decade of the twentieth century, Israel was going through another economic rookeries. At the same time, after the detachment of the Soviet Union, there were nearly one million Russians migrated to Israel, which formed a great need in housing, infrastructures and agriculture.
Under this situation, the government decided to increase permits to foreign workers from non-Palestine regions, such as Romania, China and countries in South East Asia. Together with the influx of foreign workers, came a new wave of legislation and governmental policies on this issue. First came the Law of Foreign Workers (1991), in this law, the basic rights of foreign Norse are specifically stipulated. It includes a contract written in the language that can be understood by the worker, medical care and suitable accommodations.
This is huge step when compared with the former period, although it has not been fully implemented, it marks a legislative protection to foreign workers. Right after the Law of Foreign Workers, in 1992, two basic laws were approved by the Knees: Human dignity and Liberty and Freedom of Occupation. These two laws can be also applied to those foreign workers in Israel, and give them part of civil rights on the paper. However, although the import of cheap workers satisfied the growing needs of employers in Israel, they posed a great threat upon Israeli local workers and Palestinian workers.
If the number of foreign workers were not being restricted, they tended to crowd local low-skill workers out of the labor market. The government was Obliged to initiate new methods to limit the number of foreign workers. The two most important system concerning the entrance and the employment of foreign workers are the quota system and the binding system. The quota system assigns government- set quotas to different industrial sectors, including construction, agriculture, caregivers and other fields such as tourism.
Employers or agencies request quotas of Ant to worker in Israel. But most of the time this system doesn’t in accordion with the original intention of the government. For the reason that attracting foreign Norse to Israel is a profitable business, it is likely that the agencies ask for quotas more than they actually need, this lead to a surplus of foreign workers, who come to Israel after handing in a large sum of money to the agency, only to find there is no employer, and according to the banding system, they are already illegal workers.
As lust mentioned before, the binding system was another system that used to regulate reign workers, according to which foreign workers must be bound to one particular employer, and the employer has the rights to sign contract with foreign workers. In this way, the employees have no choice but to meet the employer’s demands even if they are abused. Once they dissolute the contract with the employer, they become illegal workers and are likely to be deported from Israel.
The system also ‘discriminates against legal foreign workers relative to illegal ones, encourages them to turn illegal, and, thereby, indirectly encourages illegal immigration to Israel”. During the following years, several committees and agencies were established in order to control foreign workers and to implement decisions made by the government. In 1995, the Agency of Foreign Worker was set up under the Ministry of Labor, to control the quota of the employers as well as monitor and expel illegal foreign workers.
However, because of the pressure from the employers, the Implementation of the restriction was not as efficient as expected; there still was a large population of foreign workers, legal or illegal, working in different sectors. Then the year of 2002, a governmental special committee was formed to supervise the implementation of policies. In the same year, a significant change of government policy towards foreign workers took place: the “Closed Sky’ policy.
This policy aims to reduce the number of foreign workers in Israel by replacing them with Israeli local low-skilled workers, and also send those illegal workers back to their home countries. Regardless of the implementation of the policy, the policy itself reveals the determination of the government to intervene and stimulate the labor market in Israel. Periods: 2004 to now If there is a word can best describe the situation on the foreign labor issues during the year of 2004, it must be “change”.
In August 2004, a Joint governmental committee evaluated the current situation of foreign workers in Israel at that time, and released a report named The Mode of Employing Migrant Workers in Israel and Conditions for Issuing Licenses ( The Modern report). They proposed to the government that foreign workers should not be bound with a certain employer, and a limited number of qualified agencies have the right to employ foreign workers and also have the responsibility to provide foreign workers with salaries and benefits, and ‘any agencies that failed to uphold the regulations and employment laws would lose TTS license”. Agencies that got the license to employ foreign workers would be subject to a sum of fees to the government. Meanwhile, the quota system still be existed, the government controls the power of distributing quotas to different sectors, partially ignoring the real demands of the market. In recent years, there was a strong appeal to reduce or even stop using foreign workers in Israel. In a report submitted In 2008 by the inter-ministerial Committee, the reduction of local employment was an end to the employment of foreign workers in the construction and industry sectors by 2010″. New regulations are still under discuss trying to perish the thoughts of potential foreign workers as well as to persuade those who are currently n Israel to go back home. The impact of government policies towards foreign workers ere impact upon Israel’s labor market Before the 1967 war, Arabic workers were the main labor forces in the low statues and low paid Jobs, mainly in the construction and agriculture sectors. The mass increase in the number of Palestinian workers didn’t change the basic form of the labor market, and they provided Israel with sufficient labor storage during the years of prosperity.
Until the year of 1987, the restriction on importation of Palestinian Norse reflected the impact to Israel’s labor market upon which Palestinian cheap labors have posed. First, as a result of the consistent policies adopted by the government during the twenty years, Israeli society has had a severe dependency on cheap labors, employers were reluctant to upgrade their technician and equipment, only to find that they couldn’t meet the deadline of projections because of the increasing needs in all aspects of industries due to the Russian immigrants.
The huge sum of cheap labors also hindered the development of new technology and human capital in the labor market. Second, because of the permission given to the Palestinian workers by Israeli government, Israel’s labor market presented with a clear stratification according to ethnicity. The gap of income between Jewish workers and Arabic workers, including Palestinian workers, resulted in a cleavage between less and Arabs in Israeli society in terms of economic statues.
Until now, those heavy Norms such as in the construction fields are regarded as Palestinian workers’ Jobs in Israeli Jewish people’s eyes, Jews who are engaged in such Jobs are seemed to be in lack of dignity. From 1993, because of the shortage of Palestinian cheap labors, the government opened its labor market on a larger scale. Despite the quota system and the binding system which aimed to limit the number of foreign workers in order to protect its domestic labor market as well as to achieve some political goals, there was still a huge number of foreign workers came to Israel through legal or illegal ways.
Policies themselves should not be to blame, but the lack of supervision and some common interests between politicians and employers resulted in a far-from fully implementation. This led to a significant impact on Israel’s labor market: First of all, monopolists came into exist in the labor market. Powerful employers held a dominant position, they can profit from both the merchandises produced by foreign workers and the foreign workers themselves, which means collaborations with mediate agencies; foreign workers had no choice but to obey the rules, or they would lost heir legal identity.
Second, the labor market lost its competitiveness because of the intervention of government, foreign workers couldn’t choose their employers freely, and they lost the ability to negotiate salaries with different employers. Under such incentive mechanism, foreign workers had no aspiration to worker harder in order to gain a higher salary, both workers and employers were not fully utilized. Another impact towards the labor market is the formation of the “dual labor market”. Foreign Norse “both legal and illegal, fostered the formation of a foreign workers labor arrest separate from the formal, mainstream Israeli market. This phenomenon was construction, agriculture and especially care giving tended to find employees in the foreign labor market instead of the domestic one, thus constrained foreign workers in ‘ere limited and low paid working fields. Finally, the efforts made by the government to reduce the number of foreign workers seem to be an unsuccessful one. Even after 2002, when the “closed sky’ policy was adopted, there was still no significant drop of the number; on the contrary, these policies only turned legal foreign workers into illegal ones.
As what has been mentioned above, in the year of 2004, the government accepted the suggestion that proposed in the Modern Report, deciding to suspend the binding system, and foreign workers could choose their employers. This seems to be a rational policy which on the one hand stops the monopoly of powerful employers and on the other hand, enhance the working conditions as well as salaries of foreign workers. However, it did bring about negative impact on Israel’s labor market. First, the aim of the policy is to ancient the labor market in order to change the former over intervened situation.
However, although the employers were not allowed to hire foreign workers directly, authorized agencies took their place; those agencies enjoyed a great power and are basically new monopolies of the labor market. As a result, the labor market didn’t become more competitive than before, only changed the name of the monopolist. Besides, the lack of enforcement and supervision of the implementation of the policy left a huge space for the agencies and employers to collaboration. As a matter of fact, the circumstance in the labor market didn’t change much when compared with former conditions.
The impact upon Israel’s foreign Norse It is undeniable that any policies towards foreign workers adopted by the government would give a most direct impact upon the workers themselves. Despite the fluctuation of the government policies, there are two major impacts upon foreign Norse in Israel: issues of human rights and their legal statues. Due to the length of the paper, this section will concentrate on the foreign workers from other regions of the world who moved to Israel after 1993, and in order to clarify some details, Filipino caregivers will be taken as an example. The most concerned impact is the human sights of foreign workers.
Despite the basic laws which stipulate human liberty and dignity as well as the freedom of occupation, foreign workers cannot be treated lusty. The binding system aimed to constrain the freedom of foreign workers to prevent them from living in Israel as permanent residences, but this system did more than that in terms of the rights of foreign workers. First, employers could exploit and utilize foreign workers arbitrarily. Employers were clear that once foreign workers show the attitudes of rebellion, they could easily fire them without any loss, only eave foreign workers as illegal and are likely to be arrested or even deported.
Second, from the foreign workers’ perspective, they were vulnerable to attacks from all aspects: over-working, being deceived by employers and agencies, and for illegal Norse, being caught and deported by the government. Thus they have no ability to appeal their own rights because of their weak position and their demand for sending money home. Another hot issue is the convert of the foreign workers’ identities, from legal to illegal. Due to the binding system and many other restrictions, being a legal reign worker in Israel is much more difficult than being an illegal one. Although their employers if they are abused.
In the following case, a Filipino woman named Beatrice, who came to Israel as a caregiver to care for an elderly disabled man. When she arrived at the airport, she found that her employer, instead of a disabled man, Nas the daughter of the old man, and she was required to be a domestic servant instead of a caregiver, and the salary was cut down. She was threatened by the family to fire her if she won’t obey their order, and the agency won’t help her in the lawsuit either. Finally, with the help of a friend also from Philippine, she turned herself into an illegal worker and worked for another family. This phenomenon Ironically illustrated the drawbacks of the binding system. After the suspension of the binding system in the year of 2005, on the one hand, foreign workers had more activation in choosing their employers; on the other hand, they were again bound to their new employers—-the authorized agencies. In last two years, conflicts between regulations and foreign workers have never been reconciled. Conclusion Irish paper discussed the history of Israel’s government policies towards foreign Norse in Israel from 1967 to now as well as their impact upon Israel’s labor market and upon the foreign workers themselves.
During the forty years, although policies towards foreign workers changed from time to time, it is not difficult to find the underlying consistency: first, the government tried to keep a steady provision of foreign cheap labors to meet the domestic demands. Nevertheless, they also have to consider the prospective higher unemployment rate due to the mass importation of foreign labors; second, the government also took step to prevent foreign workers room staying in Israel permanently. However, it is difficult for the government to promise that the implementation of policies could be in accordance with the original intention of policymakers.
Because of the detachment of ideal and practical layers together with the lack of supervision, many policies didn’t meet their goals, disrupting the labor market of Israel and even did harm to the rights of foreign workers. For instance, the binding system led to the formation of monopolists in the labor market and deprived foreign workers of the rights of choosing their employers, and resulted n a mass exploitation of foreign workers. Until recent years, there is still a hot debate on the issues of foreign workers in Israel.
New policies and laws are under discussion mainly aim to reduce the numbers of foreign workers in Israel, especially illegal workers, and provide more Job vacancies for local low skilled workers. However, the concentration of public concerns on the general issue leads to the overlook of current conditions of foreign workers themselves. They are a special group in Israel society, who contributes to the development of the country but cannot enjoy Just retirement by the government and the society, they are likely to be marginalia and be forgotten in the corner of the society.
Therefore, steps must be taken to solve the problems that the foreign workers most concern about, including working conditions, exploitation, salary and basic human rights. Only under this circumstance, goals of policies in a more general sense could be fulfilled.