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October 2002, Volume 9, Number 10

Middle East: Migrants

The Israeli government suspended the entry of additional migrant workers until the end of 2003 due to Israel's rising unemployment, 10.6 percent in September 2002. In September 2002, Israel announced that it would remove 50,000 unauthorized migrates in the coming year, but also announced that 6,000 Thais could be admitted to work in agriculture. There are believed to be 150,000 to 200,000 unauthorized migrants in Israel.

Migrants have replaced the 120,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who used to travel to Israel for day jobs but who have been kept out since the Palestinian uprising broke out in September 2000.

Israel's Supreme Court in September 2002 ruled that the Israeli government may expel relatives of Palestinian terror suspects from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip if it proves they pose a security threat.

In 1979, the German Democratic Republic signed a labor recruitment agreement with Mozambique. The federal republic took over responsibility for the migrants, and refunded their social security contributions, some $7.5 million, plus aid for re-integration. However, returned migrants, known as "majermanes," are demanding far more, some $100 million.

Bahrain's 200,000 foreign workers were granted the right to join the unions in September 2002.

"Israel suspends entry of new immigrant workers until end 2003," AFP, October 3, 2002.