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Highly Skilled Worker Visa

Joshua Pex

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If you are a company in Israel looking to hire foreign experts in any position that requires expertise or training, or in managerial positions, or you are a foreign based company who wants to send a representative to Israel – you need to apply for a special work permit, which is granted by the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority.

Moreover, the employee must also be granted a work visa, commonly known as a B-1 visa in Israel. This work visa will be granted to the foreign employee only after the employer is granted the special work permit.

Contact an immigration expert to help acquire a skilled worker visa

Employing foreign workers without the required permit is considered a criminal offense in Israel. Doing so may have severe consequences, such as payment of fines and other penalties against the company and its management. This is why following the application procedure for a highly skilled worker visa is crucial for companies and individuals.

Highly Skilled Worker Visa – Cohen Decker Pex BroshApplication fora skilled worker visa in Israel can be a complex road to navigate; especially for companies that haven’t had prior experience, or companies that do not seek assistance from expert legal professionals. It may take several months for your application to get approved, and you will have to fill out application forms, attach several documents, have affidavits signed, pay application fees, and more.

If you are an employer in Israel seeking to hire a foreign expert, it is important that you apply for suitable work permits as well as residence visas for the employee so that they don’t face any complications in Israel throughout the duration of their employment.

Who is a foreign worker expert?

First, let us understand what the term “expert foreign worker” entails. According to the Israeli government, a foreign worker expert is “a foreign worker with a unique expertise that is not available in Israel”. Their employment is permitted by the commissioner under the terms and conditions prescribed by him.

Foreign experts working under a highly skilled worker visa in Israel are covered by all Israeli labor laws. Their employers are required to provide them with suitable housing as well as medical insurance.

Both the work permit and the employee’s work visa should be obtained before the foreign employee arrives in Israel. Once the employee is granted the skilled worker visa, they will not be allowed to switch to work in any other sector during their stay in Israel, apart from the sector they were originally employed in.

Most foreign worker’s permits in Israel are granted to employers belonging to certain sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, construction, hospitality industry, nursing, etc. Any employer that belongs to other sectors of the economy and wishes to employ a foreign expert should apply for an “expert permit”.

Different categories of foreign worker expert permits

Israel has different categories of foreign worker expert permits, which are based on the nature of the work and the duration of their stay in Israel, among other factors. Below are the different categories explained:

Expert with ‘expert remuneration

This is the most common category of foreign worker expert permits in Israel for companies belonging to sectors outside the ones listed above. This permit is for foreign employees who possess unique skills, knowledge, and expertise that Israeli employees do not possess. Along with the application form, employers must submit documents that prove the expertise of the foreign worker. These may include their degrees, diplomas, and other documents like certificates that prove their expertise and experience in a certain field of work.

Generally, this type of permit is granted on an annual basis, and it has to be renewed every year, for a maximum duration of 5 years.

Foreign experts staying in Israel for up to 90 days

If you are applying for a skilled worker visa, another type of foreign worker expert permit available in Israel is for foreign workers that will stay in Israel only for a short period of time, up to 90 days. This permit is usually granted to foreign workers required for time-sensitive tasks such as installing or replacing systems or conducting repairs.

These permits are valid for a total of 90 consecutive days. If at any point during these 90 days the foreign employee leaves Israel, they must apply for a new permit if they want to return to the country.

Foreign experts working for a cumulative period of 45 days in a year in Israel

Highly Skilled Worker Visa What differentiates this foreign workers’ permit from the above permit is that the employee is granted permission to work in Israel for a cumulative period of 45 days in a calendar year. In other words, the foreign worker does not have to stay in the country continuously for the duration of the permit. Under this permit, which usually gets approved faster than other types of permits, foreign employees are allowed to enter Israel after one week of their application date.

However, it should be noted that this permit is only applicable to foreign workers from countries whose citizens do not require an entry permit to Israel. These countries include the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, EU member states, Russia, etc.

Senior employees of organizations

This permit is meant exclusively for foreign workers who are in senior and managerial positions in a foreign or international company. In other words, these are company employees who play a role in the strategic decisions of the organization, who have the authority and power to hire and fire employees, etc. Under this permit, companies are allowed to employ a maximum of two employees.

The government is very strict about handing out workers’ permits under this category, and proof of the foreign worker’s affiliation with the applying company must be submitted with no exception.

Employees of high-tech and cyber companies

Companies in Israel that are recognized as ‘technologically advanced’ by the Innovation Authority, can apply for this type of work permit. If employers who fall under this category wish to hire a foreign expert and seek a highly skilled worker visa for that employee, they can apply for this type of worker permit.

This type of permit must be granted within a week, and the documents required for submission under this category are much more limited. Moreover, under this permit, the spouses of foreign experts are allowed to apply for a general work visa in Israel, allowing them to work in any sector.

Apart from the ones already mentioned, companies in other sectors such as senior airline or foreign shipping companies, higher education institutions, the diamond industry, medical industry, and media industry can apply for foreign worker’s permits in Israel.

Contact Israeli immigration experts:

The path to receiving a highly skilled worker visa is complex. As noted above, even figuring out the exact type of permits and applications may prove frustrating. Contact our law firm, with offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, for advice and help in the process.

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