Over 17,000 foreign workers have left Israel since 7 October, after Israel launched its bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip, the Maariv newspaper reported citing a senior official.
The Director of the Immigration and Population Authority at the Ministry of the Interior, Eyal Sisso, told the paper that 9,855 Thai workers in the agricultural sector, 4,331 workers in the construction sector and 2,997 in the nursing sector have left Israel since 7 October, adding that this, in addition to preventing the entry of 85,000 Palestinian workers from the occupied West Bank into Israel has created a shortage of about 100,000 foreign and Palestinian workers.
Sisso said the exodus of thousands of Thai workers came upon the request of the Thai government, after a number of the workers were taken as prisoners of war by the Palestinian resistance.
Sisso said the ministry has worked around the clock to fill the need for foreign workers and has brought in 3,485 workers from India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, adding that work was done to significantly raise the quotas of foreign workers coming from India from 30,000 to 50,000, and the quotas of workers coming from Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan were also raised.
He explained that foreign workers have also been arriving from African countries including Zambia and Malawi to work in the field of agriculture, and communications began to bring foreign workers from Moldova and Georgia.
Sisso explained that as part of dealing with the emergency, it was decided to extend work permits for foreign workers in the nursing, agricultural and construction sectors.
A three-month temporary permit has also been granted to private companies to bring in foreign workers, depending on the criteria.
Sisso said Israel still continues to bring in Jordanian workers into the hotel sector, where 1,100 Jordanian workers are currently working in hotels in Eilat. Soon, he added, Israel will have to allow the entry of some Palestinian workers in the occupied West Bank into the construction and agricultural sectors.