‘High wages’ draw youth to work in Israel; 550 register for skill test in Haryana

Youth troop in for recruitment drive conducted by the State govt., hoping to avoid ‘agents’ who charge hefty fee for overseas jobs; candidates eager to leave for Israel despite the ongoing conflict

January 16, 2024 10:29 pm | Updated January 21, 2024 10:30 am IST - ROHTAK

Youth await their turn at the recruitment drive held by the Haryana government on Tuesday.

Youth await their turn at the recruitment drive held by the Haryana government on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sitting alone near a mechanical workshop in Rohtak’s University Institute of Engineering and Technology on a cold Tuesday afternoon, Ashwini Kumar, 22, waited for his turn for a “skill test” for bar bender’s job in war-torn Israel, which he said is a “golden opportunity” for him for a job abroad. The vacancies were recently advertised by the Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam (HKRN), a government body.

Pursuing graduation, Mr. Kumar, a resident of Haryana’s Kaithal, said many of his friends had paid lakhs of rupees to agents to go abroad, and that too illegally. “The agents charge anywhere between ₹20 lakh to ₹50 lakh depending upon the country one wishes to go to. Here, I need not pay anything except a nominal fee of ₹ 10,000 to the government and buy a flight ticket for myself,” he said, carrying a certificate claiming two years’ experience with a private construction firm.

Also read | Looking for Israel jobs? Read the fine print

Presently working with a small-time contractor in his village earning ₹500-₹600 per day, Mr. Kumar is undeterred by the ongoing conflict in Israel. “Even if there is a war, it doesn’t mean that the entire country is unsafe. It must be confined to certain parts,” he argued.

Co-convener for the six-day skill test programme inside the Maharishi Dayanand University campus here, Isha Verma, faculty member, Department of Civil Engineering, told The Hindu that 550 candidates, mostly from Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, registered on the first day. The test was being conducted by a team of experts from Israel, and the successful candidates would be intimated within a week, said Ms. Verma.

Another candidate, Amit, 37, a resident of Haryana’s Jind, said workshops were conducted for them in groups of 40-odd each by the authorities, sharing details about the wages and the job tenure, besides other information. Running a shop in Jind’s Pillu Khera, Mr. Amit said they were told that the successful candidates would be paid in Israel currency amounting to ₹ 1.37 lakh per month for eight hours work per day and the maximum tenure would be 63 months. Those going to Israel would also get health insurance and provident fund benefits, he said

Mr. Amit said “high wages” were the biggest draw for him since the maximum monthly wages for other jobs offered by the HKRN were not more than ₹18,000 per month.

Nemi Chand from Rajasthan’s Churu said the majority of candidates from the State had earlier worked abroad for 8-10 years. Dismissing any sense of “fear”, the 38-year-old, who had applied for a job of tiles mason, said some female medical students from his district had returned from Israel after war broke out and had told news channels that “they were safe there”. “Also, we don’t expect the war to continue for ever,” he said, adding that they were also shown short videos of workers in Israel at the workshop claiming that it was a safe place. Mr. Chand claimed that he had registered for the job through the National Skill Development Corporation.

Another Rajasthan resident, Jitender Saini, a native of Sikar, said he had earlier gone to Dubai through an agent to work as tiles mason, but did not get the promised wages. “I was promised ₹40,000 per month, but was paid only ₹ 18,000. Here, I hope to get the promised wages. I, too, will then send my children to a school which will guarantee them a job in future,” said the 35-year-old. He claimed that around 40 people from his district had applied for the job through an “agent”, who had demanded ₹1 lakh per person. However, a Haryana official present at the venue said he was not aware of any such demands.

Jitender Singh from Haryana’s Kurukshetra said that he would read the terms and conditions in the offer letter before deciding to go to Israel.

Rohtak-based Haryana CITU vice-president Satvir Singh opposed the hiring saying that unemployed youth were being misled by the government with the promise of bright prospects abroad and being kept in dark about the possible dangers. He said the trade unions were against it.

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