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Israel lets Filipina X-Factor winner stay and work as singer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Filipina caregiver who won Israel's version of the X-Factor last week will be allowed to stay in the country and pursue a music career, the Immigration Authority said on Monday.

Rose Fostanes, 47, was the surprise winner of the popular television singing contest, but her visa only allowed her to work in Israel as a caregiver and would not normally permit her to move into show-business.

The interior minister has now decided to grant Fostanes an artists' visa, which would allow her to stay in Israel and work as a singer, the Immigration Authority said in a statement.

"It has not yet been decided how long Fostanes could stay for," an immigration official added.

Fostanes impressed the judges with a tear-jerking rendition of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" on the show's final on Tuesday. Her victory came as a surprise in Israel, where about 20,000 Filipinos work mostly as caregivers and cleaners.

Fostanes, who cares for an ailing woman in Tel Aviv, has said she hopes her popularity on the show will shine a spotlight on Israel's low-paid foreign workers.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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