Employers of Illegal Workers Could Face Criminal Charges, Minimum Fines of NIS 10,000

Those who hire foreign workers in the country illegally should be indicted on criminal charges, a government panel led by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has decided.

The committee also wants individuals found guilty of illegally employing foreigners to be fined a minimum of NIS 10,000 for each illegal worker, with the fine doubled if they continue to violate the law.

The committee drew up its recommendations at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's behest, in an effort to reduce the number of illegal foreign workers in the country. The panel includes Interior Minister Eli Yishai; Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman; National Economic Council head Eugene Kandel; and Zvi Eckstein, the deputy governor of the Bank of Israel.

Under the proposal, those who employ illegal workers will no longer be permitted to hire any foreign workers, even legal ones.

Non-residents caught working illegally will not be allowed to apply for a work permit and will be deported. Once out of the country, they will be required to wait a set period before re-applying for a work permit in Israel.

The committee is also recommending that work permits specify the foreign workers' occupation and that workers not employed in that field be deported.

The proposal calls for the Immigration Authority's enforcement unit to have direct access to the courts so it can obtain warrants to enter private premises where non-residents are suspected of working illegally.

Employees whose work permits have expired will receive severance and pension payments, in an effort to ensure that they are paid the money to which they are entitled but that they have no incentive to remain in the country.