New Guidelines for Employing Foreign Workers

MKs from the coalition and opposition team up to create a new set of guidelines for employing foreign workers.

Contact Editor
Maayana Miskin, | updated: 22:44

Foreign workers pick flowers
Foreign workers pick flowers
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Several MKs from the coalition and opposition have teamed up to create a bill that aims to streamline the process through which foreign workers are brought to Israel, and to ensure that foreign workers are not given jobs at the expense of Israeli citizens. The bill will come before a ministerial committee early next week; its supporters hope it will earn government approval.

Among those who have signed the bill are MKs from Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, National Union, Labor, Kadima, Shas, and the Jewish Home. One of bill's creators is MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, who heads the Knesset's Committee on Foreign Workers. Ketzaleh inaugurated a course Sunday to teach construction skills to demobilized soldiers, a step which could reduce the demand for foreign workers while providing employment to young Israelis.

The law calls to clearly define the field which each foreign worker will enter upon entering Israel, and would require workers to be properly trained. Currently, manpower companies often claim to give training, but in reality, many foreign workers are not qualified for the jobs for which they are hired, the MKs say.

The law would also require employers to make the terms of employment clear in a contract, so that workers do not arrive in Israel only to be unpleasantly surprised by their jobs.

In addition, it calls to implement a preexisting plan to create a database of all foreign workers in Israel, and to ensure that new workers are not granted permits if there are qualified workers already in the country.

Govt. Tenders – Only to Israelis
Finance Ministry officials recently announced that the government may not hire foreign workers for cleaning, construction, or infrastructure work. Government tenders will only go to companies that do not hire foreign workers directly or indirectly, they said.

A recent advertising campaign by government ministries is attempting to teach Israelis to differentiate between foreign workers with permits and those without. It features Israelis talking about how they went job hunting to pay college tuition or pay their mortgages and were not hired because an illegal foreign worker had been given the job. The ad's slogan was "when you hire an illegal foreign worker, your fellow Israeli is out of a job."