Thai migrant workers get go-ahead to return to farms in Israel

Thai migrant workers get go-ahead to return to farms in Israel

Thai agricultural workers who left Israel to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic are now being allowed to go back to work but will have to undergo quarantine for 14 days at venues arranged by their employers, according to Kav LaOved, an Israel-based workers' right organisation.

Israeli authorities have issued fresh disease control regulations for Thai workers employed in the country's agricultural sector and want to return to work as the health emergency improves.

Under the new protocols, those going back to work in Israel must meet initial requirements: they must have an Inter [re-entry] Visa which must expire after Feb 18, 2020, and their prior stay in Israel must not have exceeded five years and three months.

The visa is intended for foreign workers and visitors staying in Israel with a legal long-term visa. It is issued to those who need to leave Israel temporarily for purposes such as vacations or dealing with family concerns.

The visa is for 90 days at most, from the date of departure, and sometimes less -- depending on the stated purpose of the trip out of Israel. It allows the holders to re-enter after departure.

Employers must submit a request to bring back the workers, and they or job brokers may arrange chartered flights to transport them. The returnees must be quarantined for 14 days at venues arranged and paid for by employers.

The facilities must be located outside their farms and the workers will be paid an amount equal to their "sick leave" wage during quarantine.

According to Kav LaOved, Thai workers seeking to return to Israel are encouraged to contact the organisation if they have any questions about the disease control regulations.

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