JERUSALEM (JTA) — South Sudan nationals living in Israel will have two months to return to their home country or face deportation, Israel’s Interior Ministry said.
Since South Sudan became an independent nation in July, refugees from the area no longer require protected status in Israel, according to the ministry.
Tens of thousands of migrants from Africa, both asylum seekers and those seeking to better themselves economically, have entered Israeli illegally though Egypt in recent years. Up to 7,000 of the migrants are reported to be from South Sudan.
South Sudanese nationals will be offered about $1,300 and a plane ticket if they leave voluntarily before the March 31 deadline, Haaretz reported. After that they will be deported.
Israel recognized South Sudan on July 10, one day after it declared independence from Sudan. The countries established full diplomatic relations two weeks later.