Israel, Thailand sign deal for foreign workers’ rights

Agricultural workers who come to work in Israel will be hired directly by employers.

Thai workers 311 (photo credit: Eilon Gadiel)
Thai workers 311
(photo credit: Eilon Gadiel)
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 employees.
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.