HCJ Annuls “Regulation for Pregnant Migrant Workers”

Photo by Michael Brandeis

In her last ruling as a High Court Justice, Ayala Procaccia ordered to annul the regulation regarding the status of pregnant migrant workers. The regulation stipulates that a migrant worker, who is legally residing in Israel, will lose her permit should she become pregnant or give birth, and that she must leave the country and can only return without her newborn child.
 
In the verdict, Justice Procaccia states that “Forcing a woman to choose between her employment, while realizing her legitimate economic expectations, and her right to motherhood, does not settle with the ethical and legal-constitutional perceptions of Israeli society. Presenting the aforementioned options this way is infringing on the foreign worker’s constitutional right to parenthood.”
 
The petition against the regulation was submitted in 2005 by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Kav Laoved, Hotline for Migrant Workers, Naamat, and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel. The petitioning organizations were pleased with the High Court ruling and stated: “Many of the women that the Ministry of Interior currently attempts to deport with their children have lost their permits because of this regulation. This is a small group of women, who entered Israel upon the state’s invitation and were legal residents until their permits were revoked after they gave birth.” The organizations further stated: “Unfortunately, the Ministry of Interior repeatedly harms the most basic rights of migrant caretakers, which are one of the weakest groups within Israeli society. Time and time again we are forced to turn to the courts, so that they will require the authorities to operate in accordance with the law.”
 
Currently, the Ministry of Interior is promoting the “Binding Bill,” which will bing migrant caretakers to their employers, despite an HCJ ruling from 2006 that deemed this binding arrangement “a modern form of slavery.” Furthermore, the Ministry of Interior has also worked to prevent the protection of migrant caretakers rights: About a year ago, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has established a Commission for the Rights of Foreign Workers. Following pressure from the Ministry of Interior, it was decided that this commission will not protect the rights of migrant workers in the nursing industry.
 
For further information:
 
Court orders State to justify procedure on pregnant migrant workers (2007):
https://www.acri.org.il/en/?p=385
 
The “Slavery Law” and Beyond: New Bills Targeting Foreign Residents:
https://www.acri.org.il/en/?p=1838

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Categories: Labor Rights, Migrant Workers, Social and Economic Rights, The Right to Family, Women's Rights

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