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A jobs crisis in India is driving workers to Israel

On a frigid morning last week, hundreds of men, wrapped up in woollens and blankets, queued up inside a sprawling university campus in India’s northern state of Haryana.

The men, carrying backpacks and lunch bags, were queueing up for practical exams for construction jobs – plastering workers, steel fixers, tile setters – in Israel.

For those like Ranjeet Kumar – a university educated, qualified teacher who has only ever managed to find work casually as a painter, steel fixer, labourer, automobile workshop technician, and a surveyor for a non-profit – it is a chance too good to pass up.

The 31-year-old has never managed to earn more than 700 rupees per day, despite having two degrees and having cleared a government “trade test” to work as a “diesel mechanic”. In contrast, the jobs in Israel are paying around 137,000 rupees ($1,648; £1,296) a month, along with accommodation and medical benefits.

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