Sri Lankan workers fill void in Israeli labour market triggered by armed conflict
Colombo (LNW): Sri Lankan Ambassador to Israel, Nimal Bandara, has actively engaged with both the Israeli and Sri Lankan governments to address the manpower shortage in Israel triggered by the consequences of the ongoing conflict between the Hamas and Israeli forces, Israeli-based Jerusalem Post reported.
The devastating October 7 Hamas attacks, resulting in the tragic deaths of two Sri Lankan caregivers, prompted Bandara to take immediate action, facilitating the identification and repatriation of the victims.
The consequences of the war in Israel have resulted in a significant manpower shortage, particularly affecting the agriculture and construction sectors. The withdrawal of work permits from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, along with the departure of foreign workers, including thousands of Thai nationals, has exacerbated the situation.
Encouraging Sri Lankan citizens in Israel to contribute to the war effort, Bandara urged them to stay, donate blood, and volunteer on farms.
Acknowledging the manpower shortage, Bandara held discussions with Israeli authorities, including Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Avi Ditcher, to explore how Sri Lankan workers could fill the vacancies.
A government-to-government plan has been devised, with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment interviewing and selecting applicants in Sri Lanka. Thousands of work permits are being issued for Sri Lankans to work in Israel, covering sectors such as agriculture, construction, and caregiving, according to report.
The project, coordinated between the Sri Lankan embassy and the Population and Immigration Authority, aims to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.
Bandara anticipates mutual benefits, as Israel addresses labour shortages and boosts its economy, while Sri Lanka receives an economic boost through remittances sent home by the workers.
This collaborative effort is seen as a positive development amid challenging times.