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6 Feb 2024

By Patralekha Chaterjee, Deccan Chronicle (India)

Keep migrants safe as they seek jobs in conflict zones

…thousands of Indian workers are now queuing up for jobs in Israel, even as the war's devastation rages on, and there are serious concerns over ethics and safety…

Last May, Israel and India officially signed an agreement that allows 42,000 Indians to work in Israel in construction and nursing. Over 3,000 people have already been selected from Uttar Pradesh for jobs in Israel’s construction sector. Workers in Haryana are also gearing up for work in Israel. Five more states are reportedly keen to leverage war-torn Israel’s labour crunch…

…there are legitimate concerns about the safety and security of migrant workers in a conflict zone.

Most Indian migrant workers who go to conflict-prone regions or places without sufficient labour protections need to register with India’s e-migrate portal run by the external affairs ministry…

Bilateral agreements between governments on labour mobility have partly improved the situation. Recruitment fees have dipped significantly, notes a 2019 report “The Effectiveness of the Bilateral Agreements”…

“In the care-giving sector, there was an improvement in the wages after the implementation of the pilot agreement. However, part of this may be explained by the increase in overall minimum wage in Israel … there was no significant improvement in most of the other employment conditions of the migrant workers in caregiving. In the construction sector, there was a deterioration in employment conditions, especially in safety at work… [Centre for International Migration and Integration, Israel].