Israel Doubles Quota of Migrant Workers

Officials say increase in number of workers who can work in Israel for foreign companies is part of the drive to speed up construction

File photo: A construction worker at a building site in Israel, 2018.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Israel on Tuesday approved Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s proposal to double the number of migrant workers who can work in Israel for foreign companies to 12,000.

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Treasury officials remarked that raising the quota is part of a government decision to bring in migrant workers to speed up construction in Israel.

Each company will have the option of bringing up to 1,000 migrant workers for residential housing projects on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the approved plan. The workers will have five-year work permits.

Kahlon said the decision was “an additional step for the sake of increasing the housing supply in Israel.” He added, “Industrialized construction technologies, and the skilled workers that the foreign companies will bring with them, will help increase the scope of building, improve the quality and size of the supply.”

Eliav Ben Shimon, the CEO of the Israel Builders Association, criticized the decision. He said Kahlon is beginning to internalize that freezing the market is no solution to the housing shortage. “Bringing in more foreign companies won’t fix the injustice and the chaos created in the industry,” he said. “No normal country would solve a crisis in its largest industry by replacing it with a foreign industry.”