Over the last two weeks, AIC conducted an impact survey on how the government’s ‘Passport Marathon’, and the shutdown of visa services all around the country, has affected the international couples community.
The survey was conducted in preparation to a parliamentary discussion on the topic that was held this Monday, June 26th, and as a result of the Population Authority’s refusal to publish data on the subject in question.
The Israeli Association for International Couples has independently collected data on the status of meetings in family reunification processes throughout the country, between the dates 14.5 to 29.5 (the marathon period).
From the data collected to date we learn:
- A large part of the canceled meetings were fundamental meetings – to obtain status, to upgrade status, or to receive an invitation to Israel. According to the survey, only 22% of the scheduled meetings were meetings to extend existing status.
- Appointment cancellations happened in many offices around Israel, and not only in the “marathon offices”.
- The vast majority of canceled appointments were not rescheduled.
- From the few appointments that have been rescheduled, a grim picture emerges – applicants will have to wait many months for their new appointment.
Here are some key statistics from the survey:
Total respondents: 49, of 15 different PIBA offices
The results of the survey were used to generate a report, that was presented at the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on the 26th of June, 2023.
In the discussion, AIC’s chairwoman, adv. Lior Beres, presented the context in which the crisis is taking place, the already unreasonable waiting times for processing of visa and status applications, and the impacts of the shutdown that are already floating to the surface.
Lior’s words were followed by a powerful support speech given by MK Gilad Kariv, who was heavily criticizing the behavior of the Population Authority, their lack of solutions to the community of international couples in Israel and their disregard to his own appeals on the matter.
MK Kariv displayed impeccable understanding of the situation and its background, the impact of each visa status on the lives of international couples and the unfair treatment that our community is facing and has been facing for a long time.
Watch highlights from the discussion on our Facebook Page:
We continue our position that the visa delays are an infringement on the right to family life, and the economic, medical and social rights of international couples. The data we collect lets helps us support our arguments, and shows that the necessary steps to rectify the delays and respond to emergency requests were not taken.
AIC would like to thank the couples who responded to the survey. Our community continues to be an important source of information for us and is critical in helping us convey accurate information in our advocacy work.
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