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China to Ease Israel’s Labor Woes

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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China has agreed to send up to 20,000 construction workers to Israel to help alleviate the country’s labor shortage.

construction workers
© iStock.com / sculpies

Officials in Israel and China have agreed to a pact which will bring in Chinese workers to help Israel complete infrastructure, housing and other projects.

The agreement between the two governments, as reported by Engineering News-Record, follows years of negotiations and is expected to be final in February.

Ending 'Illegal Trade'

A severe construction worker shortage in Israel has resulted in a slowdown in much-needed housing construction, Housing Minister Yoav Galant said, noting that the additional Chinese workers will reduce costs and hasten completion of these projects.

“The agreement will put an end or dramatically reduce the phenomena of fees and the illegal trade in foreign workers that has characterized the sector,” a senior Ministry source told ENR. He said that it will also enable authorities to better regulate the process.

The Israel Builders Association reportedly welcomed the news of the pact, saying that foreign workers are crucial where skilled trades are in short supply. The association said as many as 30,000 workers were needed to complete the government’s construction plans, which include housing, infrastructure and other projects.

Shortage in US

An arrangement like the one between China and Israel would likely not fly in the U.S., which faces its own labor crunch in construction, according to Brian Turmail, Associated General Contractors of America senior executive director of public affairs. The association has reported that more than 70 percent of its members have a hard time finding qualified workers to fill open positions.

construction
© iStock.com / Photoinc

In recent years, more than 70 percent of members in the Association of General Contractors of America report trouble finding skilled workers.

Turmail noted, however, that the association has “long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform to help cope with construction shortages as we rebuild the domestic pipeline of recruiting and preparing future workers.”

Construction Dive reports that the construction industry workforce is estimated to be comprised of at least 20 percent undocumented workers. The report notes that employers may legally bring in workers through H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers visa program, but only 66,000 of those visas are issued each year.

   

Tagged categories: Business matters; Construction; Craftsmanship; Infrastructure; Personnel; Residential Construction; Trends; Workers

Comment from peter gibson, (1/12/2017, 12:10 PM)

The domestic pipeline has been blocked for years and will not improve as up and coming people are not exposed to trades and they don't want to do that kind of work.Rather play with the phone all day long ! All talk and no action from the construction industry about labor shortage,but don't do a damn thing about it.


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