U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz at the White House on Monday as Washington seeks to reach a deal for a temporary ceasefire and increase the flow of aid to Gaza.
There's a shortage in the manpower sector © Mena Today
Israel plans to bring in around 70,000 foreign workers from China, India and elsewhere to boost its construction sector, which has been largely frozen since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, a newspaper reported on Monday, citing a government official.
Yehuda Morgenstern, director general of the Construction and Housing ministry, told the Calcalist financial daily that a plan to increase the quota of foreign construction workers to 70,000 from 50,000 would be approved by the government in the coming days.
The quota in November was boosted to 50,000 from 30,000 to help the housing sector, which is suffering from labour shortages since around 80,000 Palestinian construction workers were barred from entering Israel in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel.
"There's a shortage in the manpower sector. That's why the pace of construction per building in Israel has risen to 34 months from 30 in 2021 and 27 months in 2014," said Morgenstern.
About 20,000 foreign workers, Morgenstern said, would be brought in without bilateral agreements with homeland countries.
In all, workers will come from China, India, Sri Lanka and Moldova, he said, with around 10,000 expected to arrive in the first quarter.
Morgenstern added that even if the 80,000 Palestinian workers now absent come back, it would be beneficial to the housing sector to have the additional foreign workers since the time to build homes continues to rise.
The ministry, he said, has also recommended the admission of about 10,000 Palestinians for infrastructure projects outside Israeli cities and in coordination with the mayors.
Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Jan Harvey
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