The Israeli cabinet has approved extending the visas of 1,700 Chinese construction workers until the end of June. The workers in question have already been in Israel for several years, and their work permits expired at the end of 2019. The extension was motivated by coronavirus concerns about the arrival of new workers from China to replace them.
"As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of Health director general has now instructed the Population and Immigration Authority to prevent the entry of people who are not citizens or residents of Israel, and who were in China in the 14 days before their arrival at the border crossing in Israel. At the same time, the Chinese government is also preventing people from leaving China. Most flights from Israel to China have anyway been canceled because of the virus. Under these circumstances, 1,000 Chinese workers who were to have come to Israel, starting on February 10, 2020, will be unable to come, and it is therefore being proposed to extend the work period of the veteran construction workers by another period," the cabinet decision states.
The extension of the employment of veteran construction workers from China already present in Israel will also avoid labor shortages and delays in the construction sector,
"This is necessary in order to ensure that construction in Israel for the benefit of home buyers will not be affected, even in the current exceptional circumstances," Minister of Construction and Housing Yifat Shasha-Biton said.
Ministry of Construction and Housing director general Benny Dreyfus added, "As the ministry responsible for the construction sector in Israel, it is our duty to act in any scenario to ensure proper continuation of construction and infrastructure projects in Israel. We are therefore constantly working to bring construction workers to the sector in accordance with bilateral agreements with various countries. Particularly now, it is extremely important to make sure that the quota of workers from China will not be affected by the coronavirus, and the government's decision approved today is designed for this purpose."
Ministry of Construction and Housing senior department manager strategy and planning policy Netanel Lapidot added that several hundred workers are expected to arrive in Israel from Moldova and Ukraine. "As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and following consultation with the Ministry of Health, it was decided to keep the veteran workers here until the end of May. In addition, in order to meet the demand in the construction sector for workers, 500 workers each from Moldova and Ukraine are scheduled to arrive."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 10, 2020
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