Expert Workers in Israel
Is your company or organization seeking to import expert workers into Israel? Are you an expert worker planning to work for an Israeli company? The following information about Israeli expert worker law and the Israeli expert worker visa may prove highly valuable. In this article lawyers from Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm describe useful information regarding the employment of expert workers in Israel.
Considerations and Limitations regarding Foreign Labor in Israel
Generally speaking, Israeli law and regulations do not encourage the import of foreign labor into Israel. The general notion guiding labor legislation is that all labor that can be done by Israelis should be done by Israelis. However, the law also recognizes the occasional need to use skilled labor by experts in fields not well represented in Israel. Thus they seek experts in niche subjects or highly specialized tasks which may not be found within the confines of Israel. A total prohibition on importing foreign experts could have a result opposite of that intended as the tasks requiring their skills would simply not be done, having an overall harmful effect on the Israeli economy. The legislation is there to prevent the possibility of a company replacing its entire staff with foreign “experts.”
The Current Situation regarding Importing Expert Workers
A 2001 commission appointed by the Israeli government in order to regulate importing foreign expert workers presented a compromise in which it would allow companies to bring in foreign workers for expert tasks. At the same time, the government would make this condition subject to strict rules, and it would be prohibitively expensive. Each application for an expert worker visa involves a fee of 1,200 NIS to be paid to the Israeli government. In addition, after the visa application is approved, the employer is required to pay 10,000 NIS for the visa itself to the Israeli Ministry of Interior (Misrad HaPanim).
Foreign experts must prove they have skills, knowledge, and experience that are unique and cannot be replicated by local workers. Furthermore, these skills must be transmittable, and the expert must be willing to impart their skills to local workers who will eventually replace the expert. In addition to the above, the act of importing an expert worker must have a net positive effect upon the local labor force, creating at least 10 positions in the employing company for every expert imported. Most importantly, each expert worker is legally required to be overpaid.
Legally Mandated Expert Worker Salary
Foreign expert workers are required to be paid at least twice the average wages of an Israeli worker. As of 2016, the median Israeli paycheck is 9,000 NIS, so an expert worker must be paid at least 18,000 NIS per month.
Importing a foreign expert worker into Israel is both expensive and complicated. It takes time and effort to obtain an Israeli expert worker visa. The company employing the expert is required to prove it needs the expert’s specific skill set, and that said skill set cannot be found within the Israeli workforce. The expert must prove their possession of unique knowledge or skills and the ability to impart said skills to Israeli replacements.
If you wish to learn more about issues surrounding any foreign expert worker in Israel, you can find numerous articles on the topic under our immigration to Israel article series.
Please contact us at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm if you seek assistance in the process of importing an expert worker or in acquiring an expert worker visa.