The fate of young Malawians desperate to secure jobs in Israel hangs in the balance as recruitment agents say they are waiting for a government-to-government deal between Malawi and Israel to materialise first.
A group of young men and women who applied to work in Israel have narrated their frustration with the chaos surrounding the process and have since urged government to intervene.
Chitsulo with a Malawian worker at a farm
A representative of the group whose name we have kept anonymous said they are depressed with the delays to know their fate as their lives were solely dependent on prospects to work in Israel.
He said: “Some of us obtained loans to raise money for the application process. We also fear some of the job agencies are scammers as we gave them sensitive personal details.
“Then we have passport issuance hiccups at the Immigration Department. We ask the government to come in and explain,” he said.
Among others, he revealed that each one of them already spent K150 000 to access a medical report which expires within three months.
But one of the selection facilitators under Workers for Arava Farmers (WAF) said the list of names to be on a plane to Israel comes from that country’s farmers seeking labour.
Justice Kangulu, WAF managing director, said in an interview that those whose visas have been processed in Israel and have met the prerequisites here at home are recruited.
“We demand a passport, medical report and police report. We call for applications through a WhatsApp group. Apart from personal details on the curriculum vitae, during interviews we also look for capabilities such as a sense of confidence and maturity,” said Kangulu.
He added that they are analysing applications and developing their database as they wait for the outcome of talks of a formal labour deal between Lilongwe and Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to Malawi Michael Lotem, who recently was in the country for meetings with government officials including President Lazarus Chakwera, said the deal has been suspended to allow for the two countries to work on a government-to-government agreement.
He said the suspension of the labour export to Israel will be in force until a binding agreement is signed between Lilongwe and Jerusalem.
“The private companies cannot recruit workers to Israel now unless the Israeli government takes another decision because the previous decision was to expire on January 31,” said Lotem.
But Malawi’s Honorary Consul in Israel Nir Gess dismissed the ambassador’s position, saying labour exports to that country “will continue while the two governments work on the agreement.”
Israel Minister of Economy Nir Barakt recently told The Nation that the labour exports to that country will continue.
He further dangled 100 000 jobs for Malawi across sectors with a call for Lilongwe to send the first 10 000 workers within two months as a sign of commitment.