Saturday 11 May 2024


Twelve Malawians have been deported from Israel after leaving the farms where they were working, to get higher salaries elsewhere.

The 12 Malawians were among more than 40 foreign workers who were arrested while working at a bakery in Tel Aviv last week.

The workers, who were part of a labour agreement between Israel and Malawi, were unhappy with working conditions in the agricultural sector and found work in a bakery instead.

Israel's ambassador to Malawi Michael Lotem told the BBC: "Anybody who violates his visa terms will be deported – as easy as this, as in any country.

"I hope it will be a sign for others that it is better to stick to the job. Nobody forced them to come, they came to do a job, they should do the job that is all."

Last week, Benzani, a Malawian working in Israel, told the BBC that some of his compatriots working on other farms were being paid less than the minimum wage in Israel.

"The minimum wage in Israel is 32 shekels ($8.60; £6.85) an hour, but some of us are being paid 18 to 20 shekels an hour."

Benzani said many of them had signed contracts which said they would receive $1,500 a month.

Benzani is not one of those who were deported.

Mr Lotem said that rather than leaving the farms and breaking the conditions of their visas, they should have lodged a complaint.

“If someone thinks that he is not getting what he deserves, there is a hotline and a phone number they can call. Violating the law is not the answer. The Israeli police shows zero tolerance to illegal activity especially these days when we have so many other troubles,” Mr Lotem said. BBC


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