China has agreed for thousands of migrant construction laborers to work in Israel in a bid to alleviate a housing crisis, the government said Wednesday.
The agreement would see 6,000 Chinese workers arrive in Israel in the six months after the formal signature of the deal expected at the end of February, a joint statement from the interior and finance ministries said.
An Israeli delegation and China’s commerce ministry have signed a draft agreement in China, it said.
The statement quoted Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon as saying the arrival of the Chinese workers would “energize efforts to solve the housing crisis.”
Housing costs in Israel have been rising steeply since 2008, according to Bank of Israel data, significantly impacting the cost of living and triggering a wave of street protests in 2011.
Kahlon, whose Kulanu party ran in the 2015 general election on a platform of lowering living costs, came under fire after an August government report showed apartment prices had risen by eight percent in a year.
Nearly 9,000 foreign construction laborers work in Israel, all of them from east European countries and half of them under bilateral agreements, according to the interior ministry.
The ministry says these agreements allow for the rights of foreign workers to be protected and cut out private manpower firms that charge high commissions and exploit migrant laborers.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.