Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

Israel deports Filipina worker who started a family

Rosemary Peretz and her Israeli-born son have been expelled following a court decision

Filipino children carry a banner which reads in Hebrew "Don't deport me" during a protest against deportation in Tel Aviv on August 6, 2019. AFP
Filipino children carry a banner which reads in Hebrew "Don't deport me" during a protest against deportation in Tel Aviv on August 6, 2019. AFP

Israel has deported a migrant worker from the Philippines and her Israeli-born son after the pair failed their last court appeal.

Rosemary Peretz, 42, and her thirteen-year-old son, Rohan, were put on a plane to Hong Kong on Monday night under the supervision of a guard.

A Tel Aviv court rejected Ms Peretz’s final appeal on Sunday. Ms Peretz physically resisted an attempt to force her on the flight on Sunday night.

Ms Peretz was arrested on Tuesday for overstaying her visa, as a part of a recent campaign of arrests of over 100 foreign workers, mostly from the Philippines.

Last week, Israeli activists and migrant workers and their children protested in Tel Aviv against the deportations of Israeli-born children. Ms Peretz is the third family with young children detained in the recent sweeps. The other two families also have ongoing court cases against their deportation.

Israel employs around 60,000 foreign workers as caregivers. Most of them are women, according to the Tel Aviv-based Hotline for Migrant Workers, and half are from the Philippines, with the rest from countries including Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Moldova.

Female foreign workers who become pregnant must send the child back to their country of origin, according to the work visa regulations. In practice, however, many do not and instead overstay their visa in order to raise their children in Israel.

Ms Peretz had overstayed her work visa by over 10 years, according Sabine Haddad, a spokesperson for the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority.

She first came to Israel in 2000 and worked as a caregiver until her employee died seven years later, according to local media. Visas for foreign caregivers are linked to their employees. However, instead of next returning home as required, she decided to stay in Israel for her son, who suffers from “social and psychological difficulties,” according to the pair’s lawyers.

Rohan had studied at a special education programme and had received psychological treatment from a mental health centre, the lawyers said.

“In the opinion of the centre’s caregivers – authorities recognised by the State of Israel – his removal will cause him irreparable harm,” the lawyers wrote in their appeal.

Ms Peretz reported she had no close family in the Philippines and Rohan’s father, a Turkish citizen, had since returned to Turkey.

Updated: August 13, 2019 09:14 PM

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