Israel will bring workers from Moldova to meet the labor shortage in its construction industry, Globes said on Thursday.
The initiative, which envisions the import of roughly 2,000 workers, comes as a prior understanding with China to supply 20,000 construction workers has stalled. Negotiations with the Chinese have not progressed after a meeting several months ago that ended without the signing of a bilateral treaty.
The Israeli Housing Department in the Ministry of Finance sent a delegation to Chişinău (formerly Kishinev), the Moldovan capital, where they secured commitments for several hundred workers to start the process, sources said.
Avigdor Yitzchaki, who led the delegation, described the visit to Chişinău:
“In the last two weeks we held a sorting process for workers in Chişinău, including medical exams and professional tests. As of today, it looks like some 2,000 workers will come to Israel. However, some of them are not trained in the required building techniques and will likely need to undergo further training in Israel.
“The Israeli delegation worked with the labor minister from the local government. Ads were published in Chişinău calling workers to come for a series of tests conducted twice a day; each day we were there, some 100 people showed up for each time slot. After the selection process, we started considering an introductory course in their home country to prepare the unskilled workers even before they reach Israel.”
Yitzhaki said that Israel is also in talks with Romania and Ukraine. Currently, the talks with the Romanians involve bringing back construction workers who had already spent time in the sector in Israel making some 15,000 locals eligible.