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Coronavirus — What Can Patients Do to Keep the Foreign Nursing Staff Who Care for Them?

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

What is important to know about the issue of replacing foreign nursing staff currently caring for elderly Israeli patients, given that the widespread Coronavirus outbreak is especially dangerous for them? A lawyer specializing in Israeli immigration law from our office has prepared an explanation of the current legal options, in accordance with the Minister of Interior’s special temporary procedures on foreign caretakers in Israel, which was published in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our offices located in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, specialize in nursing law and have ample experience representing foreign caretakers in all types of Israeli courts. In this article, attorney Joshua Pex will explain the situation regarding the Coronavirus and Foreign Caretakers.

Impact of Coronavirus on the Elderly Population in Israel in Need of Foreign Caretakers

The Coronavirus, which continues to spread around the world, has created a new healthcare reality. One of the most vulnerable populations to the COVID-19 virus are the elderly citizens. According to scientific research on the matter, the population with the highest mortality rate from the virus are the senior citizens.

Because of this, the Israeli Ministry of Health instructed the senior population to reduce contact with others, as much as possible, for fear of being infected with the virus. Strict precautions are being taken in many areas to protect the elderly population, which is the group at most significant risk. In addition to government actions, the elderly population and their loved ones must also implement preventative measures.

Coronavirus and Foreign Caretakers in Israel

Legal Status of Foreign Caretakers

Despite the guidelines for reducing contact with the senior population for fear of endangering them with infection, many of their relatives are wondering how they can protect their loved ones. For many families in Israel, those who are experienced in this type of care are the foreign workers. As we know, foreign caregivers in Israel hold a temporary work permit (B-1 work visa). In general, the maximum time period prescribed by law for the stay of foreign caretakers in Israel is up to 63 months. This is what the Entry into Israel Law decrees. The question arises as to what can the patients and their families do to keep their current caretakers, so as not to endanger themselves by replacing their caretakers with new caretakers who could infect them.

The Coronavirus and Foreign Caretakers Permits (Visas) Extension

On March 16, 2020 the Ministry of Interior published updated guidelines for providing relief for patients who need assistance from a foreign caretaker.

Firstly, there is the option to hire a foreign worker who has not been employed for more than ninety (90) days. During this period, in order to assist the elderly and disabled who are eligible for a caretaker, they will be able to procure foreign workers who have not been employed for more than 90 days. This is in order to facilitate the finding of caretakers, in light of decline in number of caretakers available to work in Israel, due to the prohibition of foreigners entering Israel beginning March 12, 2020.

Secondly, nursing patients who have an available employment permit who need help from a caretaker can, during this period, temporarily employ foreign workers who reside in Israel for 52 to 63 months (even though they do not have a permanent foreign worker who resides abroad). The employment will be approved until the end of the worker’s employment period, that is: 63 months.

Thirdly, patients who currently employ a temporary substitute worker, who is temporarily employed as a stand-in for the permanent employee who is currently abroad and cannot return to Israel due to the guidelines of the Ministry of Interior, may continue to employ the temporary worker until the permanent employee returns from abroad. The employment will be approved until the end of the employment period of the temporary worker, 63 months, provided that notice of employment extension is given from the Private Bureau.

Appeal Against Decisions of the Ministry of Interior Regarding Visas for Foreign Caretakers

It is important to remember that the decisions of the Ministry of Interior regarding requests to grant permits or visas for foreign workers can be appealed internally as well as before the Appeals Court. Even the decisions of the Appeals Court can be appealed before the Administrative District Court. Thus, these types of cases can be examined by judicial courts.

Contact a Lawyer Specializing in Israeli immigration law for foreign caretakers 

If you or your loved ones need legal counsel concerning the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the caretakers working for them, we would be happy to be of service to you at all times. We specialize in the area of settling the legal status of these workers here in Israel with the various authorities and courts. You can contact us regarding Coronavirus and Foreign Caretakers by calling or writing to us at the contact listed below.                 

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