For the First Time in Over a Decade, Nepali Workers are Formally Going to Israel

The Department of Foreign Employment has recommended names of 1,600 individuals who have applied for the jobs out of which 1,000 will be selected for caregiver jobs in Israel.

the HRM
12 years after it stopped recruiting workers from Nepal, Israel is all set to recruit 1,000 Nepali workers in caregiver jobs. The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) has recently recommended the names of 1,600 individuals to the Population Immigration and Border Authority of Israel.

Of the total recommended applicants, 70 percent are female and 30 percent are male. All of them have passed the English language test required to go to Israel for employment.

If things move ahead as planned, the first batch of Nepali workers will leave for Israel by the first week of November. As per the agreement signed last year, Israel is recruiting 700 male and 300 female workers in caregiver jobs.

After the Population and Immigration Authority of Israel sends back the final list, DoFE will forward the names of the Nepali going to Israel in the first phase to Israel’s Embassy in Nepal.

Nepalis have been working as caregivers in Israel for a long time. However, the government recognized the country as a labor destination only in 2003. Nepalis have earned a good reputation among Israelis for their services as caregivers.

With reports of irregularities in the hiring system and exploitation of migrant workers by recruiting agencies, Israel stopped hiring Nepali workers in 2009.
However, the number of Nepalis entering Israel through unauthorized routes continued to grow as hundreds of Nepalis entered Israel carrying fake Indian passports even when the ban was imposed.

Recruitment resumed once again when both countries started the Joint Pilot Program in 2015. Under the program, Israel was expected to hire 300 Nepali caregivers who don’t have to pay more than Rs 65,000 to get the job. As per the program, Israel had agreed to hire 60 Nepalis every year. But the progress remained sluggish as only 27 Nepali workers landed in Israel in 2017.

G2G Modality
The signing of the new agreement on September 30, 2020, between Nepal and Israel marks the new beginning in terms of Nepal’s labor export to Israel. The agreement has not only paved the way for Nepalis to work in Israel’s hospitals, nursing homes, daycare centers but also in other sectors such as agriculture, hospitality, and construction later.

The good thing about the new recruitment is, the whole process is being done under the government-to-government (G2G) modality, meaning there will be no presence of private recruiting agencies.

Overwhelming Response 
Israel caregiver job vacancies have received a huge response from Nepali youths. According to the Department of Foreign Employment, the government body overseeing the labor migration sector including the management of Nepali workers’ migration to Israel, thousands of Nepalis have approached the department. For 1,000 caregiver jobs, more than 26,500 people initially created user IDs in the online application, but only 7,009 completed the application process and were eligible to sit in the exams.

Nepalis who will be going to Israel for caregiver jobs will receive a monthly salary of $ 1,600. More than 7,000 Nepalis sat for English language exams at 16 test centers across Kathmandu on September 13.

Israeli jobs promise better perks and facilities than Gulf countries and are as attractive labor destinations as Japan and South Korea. Israel is a safer and more attractive destination for Nepali migrant workers compared to the Gulf countries and Malaysia. Kamal Gyawali, information officer at the DoFE said the huge number of applicants suggests the youths are interested to go to Isreal.

Costly Affair
Despite the ‘Free Visa, Free-Ticket’ policy of the Nepal government, those who will be finally selected for the Israeli job will have to shell out hefty amounts to go to Israel.

According to DoFE, selected Nepali workers will have to spend an estimated Rs 165,700. Israel-bound workers have to bear all the expenses, including airfare, health insurance, pre-departure training, and medical examination by themselves.

Of the total Rs 165,700, Rs 140,000 will be spent on a one-way flight from Nepal to Israel; Rs 5,000 on health insurance package; Rs 700 on pre-departure orientation training; Rs 5,000 on the passport; Rs 10,000 on medical examination; Rs 2,500 for the Covid-19 PCR test, and Rs 1500-2500 as a contribution to the Foreign Employment Welfare Fund.

Migrant workers’ rights activists have criticized the government for this arrangement. According to them, the amount is too big for the workers to pay. The provision of making the workers pay for Israeli jobs is a step backward from its commitment to securing zero-cost jobs for Nepali migrant workers, they say.

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