1,200 workers bound for Israel
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1,200 workers bound for Israel

The Department of Employment will send 1,200 Thai workers to Israel after it was given a quota to send 5,000 agricultural workers to the Middle Eastern country in the second half of the year.

Department director-general Somchai Morakotsriwan yesterday announced the decision to lift the moratorium on sending Thai workers to Israel due to the ongoing conflict there.

The decision was made after the government was assured by Jerusalem that Thai workers would only be deployed in safe zones designated by the Israeli Front Command, he said.

As of yesterday, 30,186 Thai workers have expressed their interest to work in Israel, with 25,585 currently awaiting placement under the Thailand-Israel Cooperation (TIC) agreement on the placement of workers.

This year, the government was given the green light by the Population and Immigration Authority of Israel (Piba) to send 5,000 workers to the country between June and December, he said. The first group to depart will comprise 1,200 workers who were supposed to leave for Israel late last year.

Military officers will be invited to provide insight into emergency procedures before their departure to ensure their safety.

Recruitment agencies sending workers to Israel will also be briefed on safety protocols, he said.

In May, Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn led a Thai delegation to meet Israel's Interior Minister Moshe Arbel, Labour Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Avi Dichter.

The Thai delegation sought three things at the meeting -- to increase the number of farm workers allowed per year from 6,000 to 20,000; to increase the quota of construction workers to 25,000; and for Israel to allow Thai workers who have completed their contracts of least five years and three months to return and work again.

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