JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet approved draft legislation that would limit the number of illegal migrant workers entering the country.
The move would open up 30,000 to 50,000 jobs for Israelis within a year, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday.
"The massive entry of migrant workers into Israel in recent years has created problems with security, drugs and, mainly, in the job market and decreased wages," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during the Cabinet meeting. "The migrant workers are a weight that push salaries lower. We are talking about damage to our society and an additional aspect of Israel as a Jewish state."
The plan would impose heavy fines on those who employ illegal foreign workers and change taxation benefits for the employers.
In December there were about 255,000 foreign workers in Israel, 125,000 of them in the country illegally, comprising more than 10 percent of the work force, the Jerusalem Post reported.