Israel to Limit Cities Where Ukrainian Refugees Can Work

Some of the cities in which work will be prohibited, such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, are home to the largest numbers of Ukrainian refugees in Israel

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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Ukrainian refugees immigrating to Israel in March.
Ukrainian refugees immigrating to Israel in March.Credit: Gil Eliyahu
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Thursday that she would restrict working rights for Ukrainian refugees in 17 cities across Israel.

The restrictions in these cities, however, will not preclude Ukrainian refugees from being employment in the construction, agriculture, institutional nursing and hotel industries.

The enforcement will apply to cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Petah Tikva, which host some of the largest number of the 13,945 Ukrainian refugees in Israel. Other cities include Eilat, Ashdod and Netanya.

Ukrainians have arrived en masse to Israel since Russia's invasion of the country in late February.

Shaked's order is an amendment to a June protocol by Israel's Population and Immigration Authority, which granted Ukrainians temporary work permits.

"The new measure doesn't address the fact that the population [of Ukrainian refugees] has been here for almost five months without social rights or services, living in a state of uncertainty because their visas are extended month by month," said lawyer Orly Levinson-Sela, Public Awareness and Advocacy Coordinator at the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF).

"It restricts their employment ability, and thereby increases their exposure to abuse and exploitation…and puts them at increased risk of poverty, food insecurity, and human trafficking," Levinson-Sela said.

"Instead of inventing new and creative ways to hurt refugees and asylum sneakers, it is time for the State of Israel to formulate a comprehensive, transparent, and fair policy [for refugees and asylum seekers," she added.

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