Working to ease the lives of foreign workers in Israel

NGO says bilateral agreements help combat exploitation of laborers.

By
July 7, 2016 22:29
2 minute read.
NEPALESE CAREGIVERS pose upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport recently.

NEPALESE CAREGIVERS pose upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport recently.. (photo credit: CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND INTEGRATION)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The life of a foreign worker, far from home and often doing difficult work, is not an easy one. One NGO is hoping to make the situation a bit easier.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Arnon Mantver, who founded the Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI) and serves as volunteer chairman, said that in the past 15 years, the number of foreign workers in Israel has grown significantly.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Mantver, a former director-general of the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, said that the increased need for foreign workers began in the late 1990s and early 2000s, during the second intifada, as foreign workers were brought in to replace Palestinian laborers.

With that, came a slew of issues, including human trafficking and workplace violations. As well, foreigners wanting to work here were made to pay exorbitant amounts to employment agencies that brokered their visa and employment.

Mantver says the best way to combat these issues is through bilateral agreements.

In an earlier statement from CIMI, the organization noted that following the 2012 Thailand Israel Cooperation agreement, fees paid to agencies dropped to $2,000. Prior to that agreement workers were being charged $10,000.

A similar agreement with Moldova permitted construction workers from that country to work here without any fee. Parallel agreements are in the works with Nepal and Sri Lanka to allow caregivers from those countries to work in Israel without paying a broker’s fee.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


According to a CIMI spokesman, there are 77,000 legal foreign workers in Israel.

The organization estimates there are 16,200 illegal foreign workers here, as well as 81,600 legal Palestinian or Jordanian workers, and 91,000 tourists who have overstayed their visa and are presumed to be working here illegally.

CIMI provides a hotline in five languages where foreign employees can receive advice or file complaints regarding their contract, living conditions, or boss. Furthermore, they can get assistance in returning to their home country. Leaving Israel can be complicated by health problems or the lack of money for a ticket.

The organization documents the makeup of foreign workers in Israel, noting that most are between the ages of 30 and 40, and that 69 percent are female.

The 3,284 Chinese construction workers dominate that sector while 21,034 Thais work in agriculture. In home healthcare, the largest proportion of workers come from the Philippines, with 15,200 people.

In one case, for example, a 59-yearold caregiver from Thailand suffered a stroke after 15 years of working in Israel.

CIMI arranged that a doctor and nurse would accompany her on her flight back to Bangkok, and provided funding for continued medical treatment in Thailand.

Mantver said that in the future, CIMI plans to expand its initiatives to include assistance to immigrants to Israel.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

NICKOLAY MLADENOV
September 21, 2018
UN official: Palestinian glorification of Fuld terror attack reprehensible

By TOVAH LAZAROFF