On Sunday, Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant will bring up for cabinet approval a proposal to increase the quota for Palestinians workers in Israel by 22,000. The proposal has been coordinated with the Ministry of Defense.
The proposal is aimed at improving the allocation of Palestinian workers from Judea and Samaria employed in Israel, and to maintain fair employment terms for Palestinian workers in construction, industry, and agriculture.
The main points of the proposal are a 9,300 increase in the quota of work permits for the construction industry (on top of the 7,000 workers previously approved only in 2016), a 3,500 increase in employment permits for agriculture, and a 2,200 increase in employment permits for industry.
The proposal also substantially eases regulations governing the employment of Palestinian workers. The regulations currently restrict the number of workers each contractor is entitled to employ and the ability of the workers to move from one contractor to another. Contractors and workers will also be able to contract freely with each other, while reporting regularly to the state authorities about where the workers are employed.
Under the proposal, an implementation team will be formed to use the Internet to guarantee the Palestinians' net wages and make sure that their actual pay matches what is reported. This contrasts with the current situation, in which salary is paid in cash, with no effective way of monitoring salary payments. Unreported payments to Palestinian workers are estimated at NIS 3 billion a year.
The proposal's sponsors hope that it will give more certainty for the contractors, who will now be able to employ workers from the quota without restriction, while on the other hand, the changes will also eliminate trafficking in employment permits and mediation fees paid by the workers amounting to tens of thousands of shekels.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 15, 2016
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