Employers of foreign workers in agriculture sometimes need to temporarily transfer workers between them due to varying workloads, workers being on vacation etc.
- Transfer of a foreign worker in agriculture between localities requires written approval from the Population and Immigration Authority and a copy of the approval must be given to the foreign worker.
- In cases where the employers are in the same locality, transfer approval is not required
Who is Eligible?
- Farmers who have permits to employ foreign workers in agriculture who are interested in transferring workers between themselves.
- Foreign workers with valid working permits who agreed to be transferred between agriculture employers.
Transfer within the same agricultural locality
- In the context of mutual assistance, farmers living permanently in the same locality may transfer foreign workers to work temporarily in their farms, provided that they are working in areas located within the locality where the two farmers live.
- Transfer of foreign workers for a limited period between farmers in the same locality can be done without approval from the Population and Immigration Authority, provided that there is agreement between the two farmers and the foreign workers to move.
- During the transfer period, the mobilizing farmer (the initial employer) remains the legal employer of the worker and all his obligations to the foreign worker as an employer remain his responsibility, including the obligation to pay wages for the hours the foreign worker works for the second farmer.
Transfer between farmers who live in different localities
- Employers who live in different agricultural localities who are interested in transferring foreign workers must get approval from the Population and Immigration Authority.
- Transfer of a foreign worker without written approval constitutes an illegal transaction and may result in criminal proceedings, administrative fines, and / or cancellation of the employment permits of either employer.
- The initial farmer may transfer a foreign worker only after he has employed him for at least 14 days. When a new foreign worker is brought by the farmer from abroad, the farmer must employ him in his farm for a period of 3 months before he is allowed to transfer him to work for a farmer in another locality.
How to claim it?
- The following information should be filled in on the Request to Transfer Foreign Workers in the Agriculture Field form:
- Details of the transferring farmer and the receiving farmer.
- Names and passport numbers of the foreign workers who agreed to be transferred.
- Requested start and end dates for the transfer period.
- Affidavit from from the receiving farmer that during the transfer period he assumes all employer responsibilities towards the workers.
- Additionally the foreign workers must sign a consent form affirming that the details of the transfer were explained to them.
- The request form should be sent to the Population Authority office - payments' department closest to the farmers' residence. The form can be sent by email or regular mail according to the details found on the office list.
- The transfer request will be considered and decided upon within 7 business days from when it was received:
- If the request is rejected for failure to comply with the conditions, a notice of rejection will be sent to the receiving farmer (to the fax number on the application form) and the reasons for the rejection will be stated.
- If the application is approved, a transfer permit will be sent to the receiving farmer. The transfer period will begin from the date notice of approval is given.
- The farmers are required to give a copy of the transfer permit to all foreign workers that are being transferred and they should explain to them that they should keep the permit with their passports.
- The transfer period can be a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 6 months during the permitted year.
- The employment contract between the foreign worker and the initial farmer is frozen during the transfer period and the receiving farmer must sign a written employment contract with the foreign worker in which the working conditions can not be less than the ones in the original contract with the initial farmer.
- The receiving farmer is obligated to ensure the worker has appropriate work conditions including appropriate housing, health insurance and salary payment.
- During this period the receiving farmer is considered the foreign worker's employer for the purpose of ensuring that all the employer's obligation are met.
- The initial employer or person on his behalf is prohibited from collecting payment for the transfer from the receiving employer or from the worker.
Canceling the transfer
- The initial or receiving farmer that wants to cancel a transfer that was approved by the authority, must contact, in writing, the local office that deals with giving permits to his workers.
- The request to cancel the transfer should include the following details:
- Initial/receiving farmer's name
- Details of the request to cancel the transfer
- Foreign worker's name and passport number
- Signatures of both farmers
- Telephone and fax numbers
- Declaration that the worker agreed to the cancellation of the transfer
- A request to cancel the transfer can be submitted at any point during the transfer period.
- The request will be checked and written approval of the cancellation will be sent to the fax number on the request within 7 days.
- The initial farmer can re-employ the worker and the receiving farmer is no longer permitted to employ him from the date written on the cancellation approval.
- From this point on the initial farmer is responsible to ensure that the worker receives all employment conditions required by law.
- The initial employer is not permitted to transfer the foreign worker to another employer until 30 days have passed from the transfer cancellation.
- If an employer violates the worker's rights, a complaint can be submitted to the Foreign Workers' Rights Ombudsman in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
- The initial farmer is not permitted to receive a different foreign worker in place of the transferred worker because the transfer is for a limited period of time and the transferred workers are still registered on the name of the initial farmer, even during the transfer period.
- There is no limit to the number of foreign workers the receiving farmer can take as long as they are subject to written approval.
- Worker's Hotline
- Hotline for Refugees and Migrants
- Mesila - Center for Information and Assistance for Migrant Workers and Asylum Seekers living in Tel Aviv
- Schar Mitzva - Voluntary Legal Aid for the Poor
- Physicians for Human Rights - Israel
- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Laws and Regulations
English translation and maintenance by The Shira Pransky Project.