Tel Aviv to Let Eritreans Complete Business Licensing Process After All

City implies that anyone who hasn't applied yet is out of luck.

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Eritrean migrants in Tel Aviv who have begun the process of getting their businesses licensed and have submitted all the relevant documentation will be allowed to complete the process, the Tel Aviv municipality’s legal adviser has announced.

The decision was reached several days after Haaretz reported that the city had recently changed its policy and would no longer allow Eritreans to obtain a business license, even if they had permits to work in Israel. The city had never announced the change, which came to light only when several Eritreans had their applications refused.

“After examining the issue it was decided that in the event that an application for a business license was submitted and accepted for processing and the applicant has followed all the instructions and met all the requirements of the city’s business licensing authority and he has all the necessary permits, he will receive a license in accordance with the conditions set by the licensing authority,” city attorney Uzi Salman said in a letter to attorney Eran Brenner, who is representing a group of Eritrean businessmen.

From Salman’s statement, however, it seems Tel Aviv will not issue business permits to Eritreans who haven’t yet applied for them.

Brenner welcomed the city’s decision, but said it was a solution for only a limited group of people. “This is not the end of the story; it’s only a partial victory,” Brenner said. He said he was drafting an administrative petition on behalf of at least 20 Eritrean business owners who have work permits but aren’t being allowed to apply for business permits.

Sudanese and Eritrean migrants in south Tel Aviv. Credit: Ilan Assayag
Eritrean nationals stage protest in Jerusalem, June 2013. Credit: Emil Salman

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