Malawians Employed in Israel Allegedly Receive Only Half of Official Salaries

Malawians Employed in Israel Allegedly Receive Only Half
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images Israel's embassy in Malawi has yet to comment (generic photo)

Malawians Employed in Israel Allegedly Receive Only Half of Official Salaries

Benzani, a Malawian currently employed on a farm in southern Israel, has shed light on the departure of some of his compatriots from farm jobs, attributing it to inadequate salaries. Authorities reported the arrest of a dozen Malawians who abandoned farm work to seek employment in urban areas, thereby violating their visa terms.

Last year, hundreds of Malawians ventured to Israel to address a labor shortage on farms, prompted by a mass exodus of workers following the outbreak of conflict with Hamas in October.

“The payment is lower, contrary to what we had signed,” Benzani conveyed to the BBC. Despite contractual agreements promising $1,500 per month, Benzani highlighted discrepancies, noting that some workers received wages as low as 18 to 20 shekels per hour, far below the Israeli minimum wage of 32 shekels ($8.60; £6.85) per hour.

When questioned about these allegations, Israel’s embassy in Malawi has yet to respond. Benzani expressed frustration over the lack of transparency regarding his salary, stating that he has rarely received detailed payslips during his nearly five months of employment.

Benzani recounted instances where two of his fellow workers left their farm jobs last month and are now suspected to be employed in local restaurants. He estimated that a significant portion, approximately 70 to 80%, of Malawian workers in Israel face similar payment issues.

Echoing Benzani’s sentiments, another farm laborer, Alex Machili, voiced dissatisfaction with receiving wages below the minimum requirement, driving workers to seek alternative employment opportunities outside the scope of their visas.

Despite raising concerns with their recruitment agencies, Benzani and Alex lamented the lack of resolution, describing their employment contracts as mere “useless paper” in their current predicament.

The accounts shared by Benzani and Alex underscore the challenges faced by migrant workers in navigating employment conditions abroad. They highlight the urgent need for greater transparency and adherence to labor standards to safeguard the rights and well-being of vulnerable workers.

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