Thai agricultural workers will no longer be recruited by manpower agencies, but
will instead be hired directly by employers, following a deal struck by the
Israeli and Thai governments on Wednesday.
The agreement is expected to
go into effect in the coming months, and is intended to stop manpower agencies
from charging foreign workers tens of thousands of shekels in exchange for
finding them work in Israel.
The Population, Immigration and Borders
Authority issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that the agreement “is meant
first and foremost to protect the workers themselves and their rights, through
the cancellation of the high agency fees and by placing the entire field of
agricultural employment under scrutiny and supervision.”
In the coming
week, PIBA officials are expected to fly to Thailand to finalize details of the
agreement with Thai authorities.
General manager of PIBA Amnon Ben-Ami
said Wednesday that he hoped the agreement “will be an instrument of supervision
and scrutiny over what takes place in the hiring of foreign workers and will
allow for fair employment.”
The government said that in the coming months
it expects to enter into further agreements with the governments of other
countries whose citizens come to work in Israel.
In April, police
arrested 13 people suspected of scamming Chinese foreign workers out of tens of
millions of shekels for bogus work visas. The suspects were manpower agency
The International Organization for Migration acted as a
mediator on the Thai-Israeli agreement, which is also supported by the Foreign,
Finance Ministry and Agriculture ministries.