The housing department in the Ministry of Finance, led by Avigdor Yitzhaki, plans to bring Eastern European construction workers to Israel. An Israeli delegation returned from Chișinău (formerly Kishinev), the Moldovan capital, after an initial intake of hundreds of local laborers, sources informed “Globes”.
The ministry’s housing unit, other government ministries, and construction professionals are attempting to increase the supply of workers, after the government decided to import foreign workers and while talks with the Chinese government continue to drag on.
Several months ago, the Finance Ministry committed to increasing the supply of Chinese workers to 20,000 without signing a bilateral treaty but the negotiations with the Chinese government have not progressed.
Sources also informed “Globes” the Israeli delegation stayed in Moldova for a week and included Yitzhaki as well as representatives of the Construction Ministry, the Population and Immigration Authority, the association of construction companies, and a group of managers from Israeli building developers.
Yitzhaki confirmed the details on Wednesday in a conversation. “In the last two weeks we held a sorting process for workers in Chișinău, including medical exams and professional tests. As of today, it looks like some 2,000 workers will come to Israel. However, some of them are not trained in the required building techniques and will likely need to undergo further training in Israel.
“The Israeli delegation worked with the labor minister from the local government. Ads were published in Chișinău calling workers to come for a series of tests conducted twice a day; each day we were there, some 100 people showed up for each timeslot. After the selection process, we started considering an introductory course in their home country to prepare the unskilled workers even before they reach Israel.”
Yitzhaki said the Ministry of Finance and other relevant government bodies were also in talks with Romania and Ukraine. Currently, the talks with the Romanians involve bringing back construction workers who had already spent time in the sector in Israel making some 15,000 locals eligible.
Alongside the efforts to bring foreign workers to Israel from Eastern Europe, the Ministry of Finance has also been trying to convince foreign construction companies to begin working in the country. The ministry is even mulling allowing Israeli companies building abroad to bring their foreign workforce to Israel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 17, 2015
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