Employment of foreign experts in Israel by “technologically advanced” corporations
More favorable conditions for the employment of foreign experts in Israel
Employment of foreign experts in Israel is complicated both for the expert and for the local Israeli employing company. In short, the legislator wanted to ensure that foreign workers would be employed only if they have skills that are not available in the Israeli labor market – and even then, the experts must teach their skills to Israeli colleagues and leave the country within a specific time limit. However, legislation in Israel takes reality (and pressure by local high-tech companies) into account. As a result, recently an experimental procedure was adopted, which allows less stringent and deterrent employment conditions for both the foreign expert and the employing Israeli company. In this article, Attorney Joshua Pex explains how to be recognized as a “technologically advanced corporation” based on the new experimental procedure.
What are the usual conditions for the employment of foreign experts in Israel?
The purpose of most of the Israeli immigration procedures and laws concerning foreign workers is (as mentioned above) to make sure that the employer will have to make an extraordinary effort to bring a foreign expert to Israel. The employer must prove that the employee has the expertise, skills, or unique knowledge that the company applying for an expert foreign worker visa needs. Work permits are for a relatively short period of time, and some of them are not renewable. For example, a person who arrives in Israel on the basis of the expedited procedure for obtaining an expert worker visa (which allows the entrance into Israel of foreign workers needed for emergency work within a few days) must leave Israel within 45 days. Even “standard” visas cannot be extended indefinitely according to the needs of the employer. Most foreign expert worker visas have to be renewed on a yearly basis, up to a maximum of five years (except for caretaker visas, as the legislation is attentive to the needs of the elderly/sick person, who may wish to be attended by the same nurse for a long period of time)
The salary of the foreign skilled worker must be at least twice as high as the average salary in Israel at the time of receiving the visa. In addition, if the expert works in an area in which the average salary for Israeli employees is particularly high, the Commissioner may condition the visa by the expert’s salary being at least twice as high as the average salary in the sector.
What are the terms of employment of foreign experts in Israel by corporations recognized as “technologically advanced”?
The three most important innovations of the new experimental procedure are:
The possibility of obtaining a work permit on the basis of an expedited procedure (bringing a foreign expert to Israel within a few days) for a period of up to 90 days (or up to a year subject to certain restrictions), rather than up to 45 days.
The possibility of employing a foreign national who completed an academic degree in the field of high-tech studies in Israel less than a year ago as an “academic graduate” without the need to pay a double salary. The graduate will not be required to leave Israel in order to obtain a work permit.
In addition, those who arrived in Israel as skilled foreign workers in accordance with the new procedure can have their spouses join them in Israel, provided their expert foreign worker visa is valid for more than 90 days. The spouse is entitled to a general B / 1 visa, which allows them to legally live, study, and work in Israel. The spouse’s employer will not be required to pay the spouse an expert’s wage, nor will they have to apply for a separate work visa for a foreign worker.
How to gain recognition as a “technologically advanced corporation”?
In order to obtain an official classification from the National Authority for Technological Innovation, an application form must be submitted. The application must include documents attesting that the applicant is a limited liability company (rather than, say, a social business or an association), duly registered in Israel, and is not a foreign company. In addition, certificates must be attached testifying that “the applicant’s R&D expenses exceeded 7% of the sales turnover in the calendar year preceding the submission of the application, or at least 15% of all the employees employed by the applicant are R&D employees.” This application must be filed simultaneously with the application to the permits department of the Population and Immigration Authority for the employment of a foreign expert in accordance with the relevant procedures for a technologically advanced corporation.
What documents are needed to receive the actual work / B-1 visa?
The foreign expert, his employer, or a representative with the a power of attorney (both the spouse and employees when applying for a spouse visa) must apply at the Population and Immigration Authority office nearest to the employer’s address. The required documents include an application form, an ASH/3 visa change form, the expert’s (and spouse’s) passport, which must valid for at least 6 months from the date of receipt of the license. The license cost is calculated according to the fee list. In order to obtain a residence permit for a spouse, a certificate of integrity and medical check must also be attached to the application.
Our law firm in Jerusalem and Petach Tikva, Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh specializes in immigration to Israel. We will be happy to assist you in bringing expert workers to Israel, inviting a foreign spouse to Israel, gaining recognition as a technologically advanced corporation for the employment of foreign experts in Israel and more. Contact us for information and legal assistance.
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