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61% of foreign workers in Israel from Asia

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Thai workers collect freshly harvested fennel near Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel February 7, 2017. There are about 25,000 Thai migrant workers who supply the vast majority of the labour for Israel’s agriculture. Reuters

JERUSALEM (Xinhua) – Israel has about 100,000 foreign workers with valid work visas, according to an Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics’ statement on Monday.

The holders of work visas who entered Israel in 2017 were from about 100 different countries, 61 percent of them from Asian countries and 35 percent from Europe.

Most of the workers from Turkey, China and Thailand were employed in construction and agriculture. In contrast, those from Nepal and the Philippines were employed mostly in nursing.

Approximately 25,000 Thai migrant workers supply the vast majority of the labor for Israel’s agriculture

In addition, about 67,000 workers came as tourists and stayed to work illegally in Israel.

According to data from the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority, at the end of 2017, there were also 37,300 work seekers that illegally infiltrated to Israel, most of them from Eritrea with 71 percent followed by Sudan with 21 percent.

Employment of foreign workers greatly accelerated in Israel from the beginning of the 1990s when the Israeli government introduced employment arrangements regarding the hiring of foreign workers that were highly restrictive.

Firstly, the maximum period of residence was set at 27 months, after which workers would be required to leave the country.

Secondly, foreign workers were forbidden to bring family members with them during their period of residence.

Thirdly, the hiring of foreign workers was subject to sector-specific quotas applicable only to sectors with man power shortages–construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and nursing care – with no possibility of switching from one sector to another.

Fourthly, foreign workers were permitted to work only for specific employers who received permits to hire them .

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