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•	Bilateral Migration Agreements – “The Day After” o	Picture: Protesters holding signs; one in Hebrew says: Cucumber season, next to a man holding a fistful of cucumbers

December 27,2018

Event Poster (Hebrew)


Professor Rivka Raijman, Haifa University


Dr. Nonna Kushnirovich, Ruppin Academic Center


Hanny Ben Israel, Instructor - Refugee and Migrants Rights Clinic, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and TraffLab Research Fellow


Adv. Shoshana Strauss, Senior Deputy to the Legal Adviser of the Population and Immigration Authority



In July 2005, a Government Decision (No. 4024) was adopted which obligated the Israeli Government to act to conclude Bilateral Agreements with the countries of origin of temporary migrant workers in Israel.  This decision came about as a result of increased pressure within and outside the State to change the recruitment procedures and working conditions of migrant workers arriving in Israel.   This pressure came from, among other sources, the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, issued by the U.S. State Department, which condemned the excessive brokerage fees collected from migrant workers and called for changes in recruitment methods for migrant workers. Due to non-implementation of the decision, several civil society organizations dealing with migrant workers’ rights filed a Petition to the High Court of Justice to implement the decision (HCJ 2405/06). Following this and additional proceedings, the State gradually began to sign bilateral agreements to regulate temporary labor migration.  The first agreement was signed with Thailand in 2010 (implemented in June 2012) and dealt with migrant workers in the agricultural sector.  Subsequently, agreements with several countries were signed in the construction sector, and recently, in September 2018, an agreement was signed with the Philippines relating to labor migration in the caregiver sector.  There are presently agreements in each of the three main sectors in which migrant workers are permitted to enter Israel.  This reflects a paradigm shift in the political world and in the State’s approach to temporary labor migration generally and, in particular, with respect to bilateral agreements.

Today, after these agreements were signed in the three main sectors in which migrant workers are employed, and after some have been in operation for several years and information regarding their operations has accumulated, the time has come to examine the agreements: the forces that led to them, their influence on labor migrants, their power to change the migration industry, the ways in which these agreements arouse opposition, and the forces working to minimize and undermine them.

At this Event, we would like to examine the “day after” the signature of the bilateral agreements and the implications of the new situation on the rights of migrant workers, on immigration patterns in Israel, and on the sectors in which the agreements apply.

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