Foreign workers kids - Milrod - Feb 2012
Foreign workers' children writing letters to the prime minister in a park in south Tel Aviv in 2011. Photo by Moti Milrod
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Some 18 months after applying for permission to stay in Israel with their children, a first batch of foreign workers will finally learn today whether or not their residency requests have been accepted.

Under an August 2010 cabinet decision, foreign workers with children could obtain residency rights if the child had come here before age 13, lived here at least five years, was either in school or about to enter first grade, and spoke Hebrew fluently, on condition that the parents initially entered Israel legally.

The government estimated at the time that there were some 1,200 children of foreign workers living in the country illegally, of whom about 800 would be eligible to stay. But in practice, only 700 applications were submitted, and the Interior Ministry has been reviewing them ever since.

Of these 700, the ministry has so far approved 257 and rejected 118, not including 65 that were rejected immediately because they clearly didn't meet the criteria. These 375 applicants will all be informed of the decisions today.

No decision has yet been made on the remaining applications. "Anyone whose request was approved will receive legal status and an [Israeli] identity card starting on Sunday," the ministry's Population and Immigration Authority said. "Anyone who didn't meet the criteria will be asked to prepare to leave the country." However, it added, anyone with a child in school will be allowed to stay until the end of the school year.

Read this article in Hebrew