Baz Ratner / Reuters
Rose Fostanes, 47, a Filipina caregiver, rehearses for Israel's X-Factor show in Tel Aviv, on Jan. 12.
A Filipino migrant worker who won Israel’s version of the "X Factor" despite not singing a word of Hebrew, could be barred from profiting from her triumph because of visa issues, according to local media reports.
Belting out classics like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” Rose Fostanes beat off the homegrown competition to scoop a valuable recording contract.
As is often case with the winner, the 47-year-old caregiver has compelling back-story to boot. She moved to Israel six-years ago and now cleans and cares for an ailing woman in her 50s. To save money for her family back home, she lives in a crowded apartment with seven other people in Tel Aviv.
Progressing through the rounds, the diminutive diva who stands at just 4 feet 11 inches became a hero for thousands of foreign workers, including the 20,000 Filipinos in Israel, many of whom work for low pay. In the run up to the final Fostanes said she hoped her popularity on the show would shine a spotlight on these people.
Although riches often await the winner, Israel’s Ynetnews.com is reporting that the diminutive diva’s special caregiver visa bars her from earning money in any other line of work, including singing.
"Under no circumstance can Rose be paid to be a singer in Israel," a source from Israel's Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) told the news site. "There's no problem if she performs at weddings for free, but she cannot receive any payment."
According to the source, the law states that, "A foreign worker cannot work in any job that is not permitted on their work visa, not even on weekends or in their free time." Any attempt to do so, "will be considered a violation of her visa."
Neither Fostanes or the X Factor Israel had commented on this at the time of reporting.