Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Deposit Law

Demonstration against the Deposit Law, Tel Aviv, June 2017

The Deposit Law, which came into force in May 2017, was enacted in order to make it difficult to employ asylum seekers, and to apply a rigid mechanism of economic pressure that will force them to leave Israel. According to the law, employers of asylum seekers are required to deduct 20% of their employees’ basic salary and deposit the money in a special account, in addition to a sum of 16%, deducted from the employers. Asylum seekers will only have access to the funds deposited in this account upon their departure from Israel.

This law constitutes a grave violation of asylum seekers’ labor rights, and its effects are socially and economically destructive. It has a particularly negative impact on women, children, and people with disabilities, and since its commencement, humanitarian distress has increased among asylum seekers’ communities.

ASSAF takes an active part in the legal and public struggles against the offensive and discriminatory Deposit Law, which sentences an entire population to extreme poverty and hardship, harming its weakest groups first.

In March 2017, ASSAF, alongside other human rights organizations (Kav LaOved, Physicians for Human Rights, Hotline for Migrants and Workers, Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the African Refugee Development Center) had petitioned to the High Court of Justice in opposition of the Deposit Law. Eleven Israeli women and children organizations joined the petition as friends of the court (amicus), thus expressing their clear position against the law.

In the petition we noted that the Supreme Court has ruled in the past that the government's efforts to encourage the departure of asylum seekers are unacceptable, and also warned about the serious implications of the Deposit Law.