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Conditions for obtaining a work permit for a foreign caretaker

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

 There are fewer foreign caretakers in Israel than people seeking to hire them. Legal requirements for anyone who wants to employ a foreign caretaker are thus based on a “seller’s market”. A permit from the Interior Ministry is necessary in order to employ a foreign worker. Interior Ministry regulations prescribe who is eligible to apply for such a permit and how to prove said eligibility. In this article we will explain; who may apply for a permit to employ a foreign worker, the tests of eligibility, and process once the employment permit is obtained.

Our law offices specialize in nursing caretakers and the labor laws relating to them. We provide our clients with solutions and assistance for such issues as patient/caretaker relations, obtaining and extending work and residency permits for foreign caretakers in Israel, transferring workers between patients, and the rights of workers. We also provide general legal counseling and assistance for foreign workers and their employers.

The employment permit and who is eligible for it

foreign caretakers in IsraelThe law requires anyone hiring a foreign caretaker to obtain an employment permit. This permit is obtained from the Population and Immigration Authority of the Interior Ministry. Employing a foreign caretaker without an employment permit is a criminal offense and can lead to fines and even imprisonment. The Population Authority has determined a list of criteria to apply for an employment permit. In this article we will survey the main eligibility criteria;

  • Elderly and people of retirement age. Eligibility is determined by the “Dependency Test,” which uses points to rate the severity of the patient’s condition. The test is generally performed at the National Insurance Institute when an application for nursing benefits is submitted. If someone has too high an income to be eligible to apply for nursing benefits, they can undergo the Dependency Test at the Population and Immigration Authority instead. The minimum score required to be eligible for an employment permit is 4.5 points for someone who has reached retirement age, and 4 points for someone over 90 years old.
  • Adults eligible for special services benefits from the National Insurance Institute. These candidates do not have to pass the Dependency Test, and are eligible to apply for an employment permit at any age.
  • Disabled children. An employment permit may be granted on behalf of children who are eligible for disability benefits and meet certain criteria. The conditions include unique medical circumstances that necessitate daily treatment, or a need for round-the-clock supervision because the disability makes the child unable to participate in educational frameworks. A professional advisory committee, under the auspices of the Nursing Division, determines whether a child meets the criteria for an employment permit.
  • In certain cases, patients with special needs, those disabled from a work accident, disabled IDF veterans, and disabled victims of terror are also eligible to apply for employment permits.

Expedited handling of an application for an employment permit

Population Authority regulations enable prioritizing cases in which a patient is about to be discharged from the hospital or from a nursing institution and urgently requires nursing care. In such cases, the patient cannot wait until all the required permits are arranged and a foreign caretaker is found. Therefore, it is possible to submit an expedited application for an employment permit. An expedited application is processed within a month at most.

An employment permit obtained via this track is granted for only three months. In such cases, it is not possible to invite a foreign caretaker from abroad. Therefore this type of permit can only be used to hire a caretaker who is already located in Israel.

What happens after the employment permit is arranged?

Obtaining the employment permit is only the beginning. After obtaining the permit, one must apply to one of the private agencies licensed by the Population and Immigration Authority. These agencies are responsible for brokering and bringing foreign caretakers to Israel. After finding and registering a suitable worker, a work visa must be obtained, suitable for a foreign caretaker. Only after completing all these steps is it possible to hire the foreign caretaker.

Contact an attorney specializing in employment permits for hiring foreign caretakers

If you would like to determine whether you or your family members are eligible to hire a foreign caretaker, or if you are seeking advice and assistance in anything regarding employment permits and arranging foreign caretakers’ legal status, we will be happy to help. Contact our law offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, to obtain assistance and legal information. We specialize in the nursing sector, arranging legal status for caretakers, and representing workers and their employers before the various authorities.


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