Twenty-one Malawians lined up for farming jobs in Israel had a rude awakening when they were turned back at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe as 119 others flew out on Tuesday night.
Confirming the incident, Workers for Arava Farmers Agency managing director Justice Kangulu, whose firm was responsible for their travel, attributed their predicament to lack of plane boarding clearances.
But he could not be drawn to explain how that happened considering that all the recruits were issued with visas.
The recruits queue up at airport immigration checkpoint
Said Kangulu: “In Israel, when they issue you with a visa they have to clear you to get into the plane. As you can see, there was a delay, we were trying to fix those kind of errors in order to ensure that nobody is above the law.”
The plane sent to fly the labour force missed the designated departure time of 1.15am, flying out about two hours later.
Meanwhile, Kangulu has said those left behind will fly out this weekend.
The 140 were an all-men cohort, but previous groups included women as well.
The labour exportation, which rolled out last year, is part of an agreement between Lilongwe and Tel Aviv, whose labour force has dwindled after migrants fled the war between Israel and Hamas.
However, the deals have had their share of controversies as some workers currently in Israel have been opposing the payment arrangement where almost 90 percent of their wages is deposited in Malawi.
Kangulu stated that they have ironed out their differences, saying: “This is the first time that we have had this kind of an opportunity with the State of Israel.
“In the beginning of everything there ought to be problems. We have looked into everything our brothers and sisters raised. We have fixed it and they are happy.”
One of the 119 that flew out, Emmanuel Chapweteka Banda said he viewed the chance to work in Israel as a lifetime opportunity having been unemployed for several years.
Banda, who together with the team will work for five years, further said he does not have any reservations with the terms and conditions of the salary payment.