[Thai] Govt allays Israel labour pact fears

Labour Minister MR Chatu Mongol Sonakul has allayed concerns about possible changes in recruitment of Thai labour to work in Israel following reports the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is withdrawing from the Thailand-Israel Cooperation on the Placement of Workers (TIC) project.

MR Chatu Mongol said the placement of Thai workers will continue under the government-to-government framework with Israel, but the Department of Employment will take over the role assumed by the IOM.

He insisted labour officials will ensure transparency and safeguard the rights of Thai workers.

“I don’t want to see complaints about irregularities in the job placement process. I want labour officials to live up to the IOM’s standards,” he said after a recent meeting with Israeli ambassador Meir Shlomo to discuss labour issues involving Thai workers in Israel.

According to MR Chatu Mongol, Israeli authorities are not worried about the IOM pulling out from the TIC project.

He said a number of issues were raised during the meeting with the Israeli ambassador including a new TIC agreement, preliminary training for Thai workers before their departure and the alleged scale of drug use among Thai workers.

Initiated in 2012, the TIC project was jointly implemented by the Labour Ministry, Israel and the IOM as a pilot scheme aimed at cutting service fees paid by Thais seeking jobs in Israel’s agricultural sector.

Prior to the TIC project, Thai workers paid 300,000-350,000 baht to private recruitment agencies but after the implementation of the TIC, the workers recruited through the process paid around 75,000 baht including travel expenses.

Under the TIC project, the Department of Labour is responsible for recruitment while the IOM monitors and observes the recruitment process. Israel authorities work with Israeli business operators with the project also designed to tackle problems of human trafficking and forced labour.

However, the IOM plans to withdraw from the TIC project this year, raising concerns about possible changes in the recruitment process.

The process under the TIC project is random which, according to the IOM, creates equal job opportunities even though candidates have to be interviewed and undergo health checkups.

Due to competitive salaries of at least 50,000 baht a month and a two-year employment contract renewable up to five years, Israel is an attractive destination for Thai workers seeking jobs overseas.

Almost 30,000 Thai workers are working in Israel, 95% are male and 84% of them are from the northeastern region.

A labour source said Israel has agreements with various countries on the employment of workers. Bangkok has a quota of 5,000 jobs in the agricultural sector while China has a quota in the construction sector.

Written by Penchan Charoensuthipan
Source: Bangkok Post
Published on 9 February 2020
Link: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1853464/govt-allays-israel-labour-pact-fears

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