Workers are migrating to Israel due to a labor problem in India

Last week, on a chilly morning, hundreds of men lined up inside a large university campus in the northern Indian state of Haryana, bundled in blankets and woollens. The men were waiting in line for practical exams for construction occupations in Israel, such as tile setters, plasterers, and steel fixers. They were also carrying backpacks and lunch bags. It’s an opportunity too good to refuse for someone like Ranjeet Kumar, a trained teacher with a university degree who has only ever found part-time employment as a painter, steel fixer, laborer, car workshop mechanic, and surveyor for a non-profit.

Despite holding two degrees and passing a government “trade test” to become a “diesel mechanic,” the 31-year-old has never been able to make more than 700 rupees a day. In comparison, a month’s salary for a job in Israel is approximately 137,000 rupees ($1,648; £1,296), which also includes housing and health benefits. It should come as no surprise, then, that Mr. Kumar, who obtained a passport last year, is keen to work as a steel fixer in Israel in order to provide for his family of seven. “Jobs here are not stable. Costs are rising. Even after graduating nine years ago, I am not financially comfortable,” he remarked.

Israel intends to import 70,000 workers from China, India, and other nations, according to sources citing officials, in order to strengthen its construction industry, which has been suffering since the Hamas attack on October 7. According to accounts, Israel banned some 80,000 Palestinian workers after the attack, resulting in a labor shortage. It is reported that over 10,000 Indian workers will be hired. Both Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are taking applications for open positions. Several thousand candidates from all across the nation are taking exams at the Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, Haryana. (The Israeli embassy declined to provide a statement on the matter.)

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