Israel will start implementing the first round of expanded work permits for Palestinians this week, with 9,000 additional laborers from the West Bank to be allowed to work in the country.
In August, the government approved letting 15,000 additional Palestinian construction workers into the country. The decision came in light of the shortage of construction workers in Israel. The Construction and Housing Ministry said the other 6,000 will become available in January 2022.
The ministry stated that the move, which was coordinated with the Population and Immigration Authority, is "a first step toward the implementation of an expansion in the quota for Palestinian workers in Israel."
As per the August decision, the total number of Palestinian workers in Israel is expected to reach 80,000.
"The immediate increase in the supply of Palestinian workers for the construction industry is genuine good news for the housing market which is currently in a critical period, not only in terms of the housing forecast in Israel but also because of its considerable importance to the entire Israeli economy," said Construction and Housing Minister Zeev Elkin.
In the coming days, licensed employers in Israel – contractors and entrepreneurs – will be able to file applications for employment permits for additional Palestinian workers.
The Construction and Housing Ministry said that the goal is to increase the work force as the number of home sales increases, and called these sales "a basis for equilibrium in the industry, in order to provide a solution for the growing demand."
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Last week, Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced that the number of merchants from Gaza that are permitted into Israel will also be increased from 7,000 to 10,000.