Corona: Extended the stay of 1,700 Chinese construction workers, El Al stops flying to Hong Kong

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Feb 9, 2020

The government approved the construction and housing minister Yifat Shasha Biton's proposal to extend his stay in Israel to 1,700 Chinese construction workers. According to the decision, which is intended to prevent damage to construction and infrastructure projects in Israel. The workers' residence permit will be extended until the end of June 2020 following the postponement of the arrival of new workers from China following the virus.
 The worrying outbreak in China of the Corona virus that has infested thousands of people and has already taken the lives of hundreds of victims, paralyzing vast areas of China and causing severe apprehension worldwide, is also affecting the construction industry in Israel. About 2,000 Chinese workers were due to arrive in Israel these days after rigorous sorting, but due to the outbreak of the virus, they remained in China. Another 1,000 workers who went on a domestic holiday in China are now not allowed to return to Israel.
The Association of Builders of the Country expresses great concern in the face of the growing crisis. According to the president of the association Raul Sarogo, there are currently 15,000 foreign workers in the Israeli construction industry, of whom about 7,000 are Chinese, but there is a serious shortage. "The government must immediately increase the quota of foreign workers while at least 10,000 are working to meet the targets it has set itself and the great demand," he says.
Crochet regrets that for a year now no permanent government in Israel and the existing transitional government is unable to make decisions. He warns that the situation is adversely affecting the economy and proposes to increase staff quotas from Moldova and Ukraine. "Housing prices in Israel are high because housing supply does not meet demand, and due to the severe shortage of foreign workers," he explains. "We will add to this the need for tax cuts, land defrosting and the reduction of bureaucracy."
Contractors are also alerted to the dismal state of the construction industry. Yaki Amsalem, CEO of the Almog Group, says that there has been a critical shortage of construction workers for ten years. “Many contractors on Chinese workers and contractors work from China months and sometimes a year in advance,” says Amsalem. He said Chinese workers were considered professional.
The workforce corporations actually employ foreign workers in the construction industry, and the contractors hire Chinese workers' services through them. Eldad Nitzan, chairman of the building's human resources corporation association, says that foreign workers in general and the Chinese in particular enjoy excellent working conditions in Israel. “By 2005,” he says, “there was a complete mess in the field, and the working conditions were poor. With the establishment of dozens of workforce corporations for foreign workers, workers' conditions have improved significantly. Chinese workers have better terms of employment than Israelis. They receive very high holidays, pensions, recuperation and salaries, ranging from NIS 13,000 per month and up to NIS 25,000 per month to a professional Chinese worker. Due to the shortage of workers, the Chinese are even raising prices. ” As part of their terms of employment, Chinese workers also live in apartments rented by the corporations, ensuring the density of no more than two workers in the room.
The contractors love to hire the services of the Chinese, and it turns out that the Chinese also love to be in Israel. In fact, there is a group of about 1,500 Chinese workers who have been working here since 2008, and for 12 years they form the core of professional Chinese workers. "The Chinese love to come here, they have 'crazy' conditions, they earn a fortune and they don't want to go," Nitzan says. "They return home to China and become the village's richest." At the same time, Nitzan warns that the outbreak of the Corona virus could lead to unusual delays in the number of projects, shortages of housing units and therefore large demand that will translate into a large rise in house prices in Israel.
Now, in the face of the Corona virus crisis, the end of which is not in sight, distress is only increasing. So what's the solution? The Builders Association is of the opinion that construction workers from Moldova and Ukraine should be brought to greater quota. The union is also calling on the government to bring in workers from Turkey despite the shaky relations between the countries. In doing so, Chinese workers may be forced to move out of the construction industry en masse. "The Palestinians work well, but their outputs are low due to the long hours at checkpoints, holidays and sometimes closures," adds the president of the Sarogo Association. "Whereas the Romanian workers prefer to stay in Europe and work mainly in Germany, as well as in France and the United Kingdom."
Yehuda Reporter, Chairman of the Tel Aviv District Contractors and Builders Association and Vice President of the Association, proposes to reopen Gaza gates for construction workers. "The Gazans are the best construction workers, should first approve bringing workers over 40 and then gradually increase the quota," he explains.

Israeli airline El Al decided on Sunday to cancel flights to Hong Kong this week due to the uncertainty in the spread of the Corona virus. The company's flight tonight is scheduled to depart, but after that, with the return of the plane from Hong Kong, the company will freeze the line operation for the coming week.
These are two flights from Israel to Hong Kong and two flights from Hong Kong to Israel. In recent days, El Al management has held discussions on whether to exclude flights on the line, partly because of low demand and the fear of travelers from the Far East. Please note that even at this stage, you can still book tickets to Hong Kong for the next week.
Last week, the company decided to cancel its flights to Beijing in the next two months following the spread of the virus in China. In a statement released at the time, the company stated that "after
In addition to El Al, many airlines around the world have canceled flights to China following the spread of the Corona virus, which has so far infected more than 37,000 people around the world. As a result of the virus, the night rose to 813, crossing the number of deaths in the SARS epidemic in 2003-2002, of which 774 died.

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