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Employment for immigrants given the right approach

Employment for immigrants given the right approach - Aliyah organizations

With unemployment at a massive 20 percent due to the ravages wrought to the economy by the novel coronavirus, immigrants now face new tests in establishing themselves in the labor force.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created both challenges and opportunities for immigration to Israel, sparking a big spike in those applying to make aliyah, but at the same time making it harder for immigrants to actually arrive in the Jewish state.

But getting here is now only part of the challenge. With unemployment at a massive 20 percent due to the ravages wrought to the economy by the novel coronavirus, immigrants now face new tests in establishing themselves in the labor force.

But despite the challenges, those involved in the realm of immigrant employment insist that finding employment is still possible.

The Jewish Agency’s vocational training programs for new immigrants have restarted, and the various companies and employers who conduct the training and take on those who participate in their courses are sticking by their employment commitments, says Orly Zuckerman of the Jewish Agency’s Absorption Department.

Zuckerman says that employers in almost all the fields of the economy with which the Jewish Agency works are still taking on workers, apart from the hotel and hospitality industry which is still suffering from the fall-off in tourism.

She notes in particular that the hi-tech sector is still showing high demand for employees despite the current economic difficulties.

Rachel Berger, vice-president of employment at Nefesh B’Nefesh, concurs, saying that there are still jobs to be had in Israel and adding that she is posting between 15 and 20 jobs a day on various forums.

She acknowledges, however, that it is “an employer’s market” given the glut of labor now available, but said that if new immigrants are “ready to hustle,” they can get interviews and jobs.

“Programing, sales, marketing, content writing, these fields are taking on new workers,” she said.

The majority of those immigrating do not have jobs ready for them upon arrival, and Berger notes that someone without a specialized skill set and some Hebrew-language proficiency will have a harder time securing employment before arriving.

“You have to pitch yourself correctly, you have to formulate your resumé correctly, you have to send it in the morning so recruiters see it when they get to work, answer job ads quickly and if you do these things you will get opportunities,” she said.

The other option which some new immigrants arrange is working remotely in their old jobs from their country of origin here in Israel.

Tzvi Karoly, 35, from New York, made aliyah in March and has continued in his job for an engineering firm in Manhattan from the suburbs of Modi’in.

Karoly and his wife had been considering aliyah for several years, and although there were other employment opportunities in his field available for him, he decided that due to the substantial difference in salary he would continue in his existing job, which his current employers were willing to allow.

Although this can be logistically challenging for some given the time difference, Karoly said that he only needs around three hours of overlap with US working hours to be able to function effectively.

He adds that working remotely grants him a degree of flexibility, especially regarding the ability to pick up children from school given the short school day which would otherwise be more challenging to manage with both him and his wife in full time employment.

“Having a job made making aliyah a lot simpler. I think I would have made aliyah without a job, but it would have been a lot more difficult, especially in COVID-19 era, when coming without a job would be scary,” he said.

Jeremy  Sharon, June 25, 2020

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