Since May, a new tax rule stipulates that Israeli employers must deduct 20 percent of the wages of Eritrean and Sudanese employees who entered Israel illegally from Egypt and have temporary visas.
The sum is then deposited in a fund, alongside an employer-paid tax of 16 percent, and remains there until the worker leaves Israel.
"They want us to leave the country," said 29-year-old Eritrean community organizer Teklit Michael, who now works as a cook at a restaurant in south Tel Aviv. "They want to break our spirit."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the migrants' presence a threat to Israel's social fabric and Jewish identity and some of his supporters have referred to it as "a cancer."
Israel has granted asylum to fewer than 1 percent of those who have applied and has a years-long backlog of applicants.