Thailand to send 1,200 farm workers to Israel despite conflict

Image: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

In an effort to boost collaborative efforts between the two nations, Thailand’s Department of Employment will send 1,200 workers to Israel, following an agreement with the nation to accommodate 5,000 Thai workers between June and December.

Department of Employment Director-General Somchai Morakotsriwan announced the decision yesterday, June 13, lifting the moratorium on sending Thai workers to Israel despite the ongoing conflict in the region which had taken the lives of some labourers, meanwhile, others paid in blood as innocent bystanders in the raging war.

A Human Rights Watch probe back in 2015 revealed the suboptimal work and living conditions that many Thai farmers were subjected to, even before the conflict had ignited. Workers were in the fields for up to 17 hours a day, seven days a week. Deaths and suicides were not unusual.

The government decided after receiving assurances from Jerusalem that Thai workers would be deployed only in safe zones designated by the Israeli Front Command, ensuring their safety.

Related news

As of yesterday, 30,186 Thai workers have expressed interest in working in Israel, with 25,585 currently awaiting placement under the Thailand-Israel Cooperation agreement on worker placement.

This year, the Population and Immigration Authority of Israel (PIBA) permitted 5,000 Thai workers to be sent between June and December. The first group, consisting of 1,200 workers who were supposed to depart late last year, will be the initial contingent.

Safety training

Military officers will provide crucial insights into emergency procedures before workers depart to ensure safety. Additionally, recruitment agencies sending workers to Israel will be briefed on safety protocols.

In May, Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn led a Thai delegation to meet with Israel’s Interior Minister Moshe Arbel, Labour Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur, and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Avi Dichter.

The Thai delegation sought three key agreements during the meeting: to increase the annual number of farm workers allowed from 6,000 to 20,000, to raise the quota of construction workers to 25,000, and to allow Thai workers who have completed contracts of at least five years and three months to return and work again, said Somchai.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our workers while fulfilling the agreed quotas… Israel has provided assurances that our workers will be placed in safe zones, and we will take all necessary precautions.”

The decision to send Thai workers to Israel marks a significant step in the collaborative efforts between the two nations, aiming to meet labour demands while prioritising worker safety, reported Bangkok Post.

Thailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

Related Articles