The legislative process:
Work on the bill began when the interior minister was Gideon Sa’ar, before the Law Against Infiltration was struck down by the High Court of Justice for the second time (amendment 4). After the High Court of Justice ruling the need to create a mechanism that would hurt the economic incentive to remain in Israel has become more urgent, and a bill was raised in a special discussion of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environmental Protection Committee in October 2014.
From the protocol of the discussion:
Jonathan Jacubowicz, head of public policy at the ICIP:
“In order to cope with the mass of people who are here, we need another tool apart from the holding facilities. Therefore we propose the establishment of a fund, similar to the ones currently in existence for legal foreign workers, where about 40% of the income of migrants who are already in Israel and working can be deposited. They will be able to receive the money only when they leave the country or alternatively when they receive refugee status. We want to negate the economic incentive to stay here and thus to also prevent people from coming here. The money they are sending home, we can save for them, and thus we will increase the incentives both to leave Israel and to never come here in the first place. In addition, it will save the country a lot of money because we would not need to pay them in order to leave unless they want to leave and receive the money themselves. I think this fund is vital in order to complete any legislation the Knesset would pass on the issue and it needs to complement the holding facilities. (1) (1 Protocol of meeting 384 of the Knesset Committee for Internal Affairs and Environment Protection, Knesset 19, p. 26 [6 October 2014]).
For further reading:
Original IIPC position paper
Original bill as filed by the IIPC
Then-interior minister Gideon Sa’ar adopted the IIPC’s position on immigration policy and even promoted the initiative in a special session of the committee, after several weeks, on 7 October 2014:
“I would like to present here another idea which is not part of the legislation being written following the ruling: We need to find additional incentives, economic ones, and I think we also need to go for a mechanism where part of the wage of migrants who work, and this is the majority today – will be placed in a fund and would be returned to each person leaving the country when they leave. The sums will be saved, of course.” (1 Protocol of meeting 385 of the Knesset Committee for Internal Affairs and Environment Protection, Knesset 19, p. 5 [27 October 2014])
The Deposit Law was raised as part of the legislative process of legislating the Law Against Infiltrators and to Ensure their Leaving the Country, as an indirect part of the Foreign Workers’ Law. From the start, the schedules for legislating the law were short, since there was a need to meet the 90-day deadline imposed by the High Court of Justice. Furthermore, the timetables became even more stressful when the coalition fell apart in the middle of the process: the prime minister effectively announced elections on the day the bill passed the first reading at the Knesset plenum in early December 2014.
The IIPC took part in marathon discussion at the committee and even had some comments on the law memorandum. Due to the time-pressured timetable, clauses dealing with the deposit of foreign workers who are not infiltrators were removed from the legislation. Even though the government fell apart, the law passed the second and third readings a mere week and a day after the first reading, and only hours before the Knesset disbanded itself.
In the text of the law as it was passed, there are two main clauses: The first one includes the depositing of 20% from the wage of an infiltrator to a deposit fund, and the infiltrator would receive these after leaving the country or after receiving refugee status in Israel. The money is saved for the infiltrators in any case and cannot be confiscated. The second clause obligates an employer to deposit in the fund a sum equal to 16 percent of the monthly wage of an infiltrator at the expense of the employer. This sum serves as a substitute of sorts to pension deposits, compensation in case of termination etc. From this second component, a small percentile will be taken away so long as an infiltrator remains in the country after he was expected leave, up to six months from when he was asked to leave, at which time the entire part of the money paid by the employer will be deducted.
As one would expect, non-governmental organization helping the infiltrators have announced that they would appeal the deposit law immediately after it was passed in 2014. An appeal was filed only in March 2017, when the government was intending to begin enforcing the law. On April 19 the High Court of Justice rejected the request for an injunction.