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23 Oct 2023

By Katie McQue, The Guardian (UK)

Israel: Migrant workers charged high recruitment fees, trapped in debt bondage & unable to escape Gaza conflict

See all tags Allegations

“Trapped by debt: migrant workers in Israel unable to escape conflict”

Migrant workers in Israel have said that they are unable to return home to their families after the 7 October attacks as they are trapped in debt from the high recruitment fees they had to pay for their jobs.

…There are reportedly more than 100,000 foreign workers in Israel, with the majority working as caregivers, as well as in agriculture and construction…

The Guardian spoke to several migrant workers…

Yet all said they were unable to because of the high recruitment fees – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars – they were made to pay by recruitment agencies before travelling to work in Israel…

The International Labour Organization (ILO) mandates that employers should pay any financial fees attached to recruiting migrant workers from abroad. However, Israel makes workers pay these “placement fees” themselves, a practice that has drawn criticism from human rights experts

A shortage of workers in Israel’s healthcare and agriculture sectors and the high debts people can incur when travelling to work in the country can lead to migrant workers being exploited and forced to work long hours without breaks…