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Inviting and employing foreign hotel workers in Israel

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

Michelle Long

Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!

Inviting and employing foreign hotel workers in Israel has become very common in recent years. This is in part a response to the significant increase in domestic and foreign tourism in the Holy Land. However, the authorities have established strict criteria for inviting new workers in this sector. In addition, there are quite a few unique rights of employees in the Israeli hospitality sector which apply to foreign workers as well. In order to figure out how to manage the strict criteria for employing hospitality workers legally, it is important to be fully familiar with the applicable regulations. This article provides an explanation by attorney from our office who specializes in immigration law and the field of foreign workers.

Our legal offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv specialize in labor law and Israeli immigration law. The office provides comprehensive legal solutions in the field of foreign workers, for both workers and employers. We offer a range of legal services in this field, including, among others, handling foreign workers’ applications for work visas, assisting in arranging Israeli work permits, representing clients before various authorities and courts, and providing legal advice and counsel for foreign workers and employers.

 Inviting and employing foreign hotel workers in Israel

The increased demand for tourism in Israel has significantly increased the demand for foreign workers in the hospitality sector

In the past decade, Israel has become a significant tourist destination. It seems that both Israeli and foreign tourists have begun to rediscover Israel en masse. This has led to a notable increase in demand for workers in the hospitality sector. Given the difficulty in filling this need with Israeli workers, a solution is to increase the quota of foreign workers in the hospitality sector. Foreign workers’ involvement in this sector raises quite a few legal questions regarding the procedure for inviting and employing foreign hotel workers, and below we will explain the most central of these questions.

What are the main employment areas in the hospitality sector that are drawing foreign workers?

The most notable employment area in this regard is housekeeping. It is extremely common to employ foreign workers from various countries in this area. In addition, there are other trades for which foreign workers are invited, such as masseuses, chefs, entertainment performers (dancers, musicians and other stage performers), etc. In such cases the process of inviting the workers is likely to be complex, and sometimes includes the requirement to invite them as skilled workers, or to prove their professional background.

How does one invite foreign workers in the hospitality sector?

If the workers in question are housekeeping employees, you have to submit an online application in order to invite them. The application must meet a fair number of prerequisite conditions in order to be approved. These conditions include obtaining a recommendation from the Tourism Ministry, as well as meeting the quotas and criteria that the Ministry has set for approving the application. The required criteria include a minimum number of 25 hospitality units, ownership of the hotel by one person or group, and that the hotel’s purpose is for entertainment, leisure and vacationing. It is important to note that the Ministry of Tourism regulations allow inviting foreign workers to Israel to work in hotels throughout the country, except for the Eilat region. There a separate procedure is followed regarding foreign workers, and the employment involves primarily foreign workers from Jordan.

Regarding workers in other professions, there are a number of options for inviting them. One common way is to invite them as skilled workers. For example, when the dining hall in a hotel wants to serve Asian-concept meals and invite for that purpose a foreign chef from a Far Eastern country, it is possible to invite him as a skilled worker. For this you must meet the requirements of the procedure for inviting skilled workers to Israel. This procedure involves, among other things, obtaining a recommendation from the Finance Ministry. Another possibility is to obtain an employment permit for foreign workers who are already residing in Israel, and register them as workers in the hospitality sector. To clarify the required procedure for specific cases, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in Israeli labor and immigration law.

What are the unique rights of workers in the hospitality sector?

The hospitality sector is known to be highly unionized, as evidenced by the Israel Hotels Association, which was founded to protect those working in this sector. Accordingly, alongside the general rights reserved for foreign workers (which we have described in detail in another article), workers in the hospitality sector enjoy additional rights reserved particularly for them. This is in light of instructions made in collective agreements and extension orders which have been signed in the hospitality sector.

The above unique rights include a shortened work day and increased compensation for overtime and work on rest days and holidays. Likewise, a requirement for a unique retirement insurance applies to hospitality-sector workers (which generally applies to foreign workers as well) as well as raises and special vacations for senior workers in the sector. Often employers wonder whether they must grant these special rights to foreign workers in their employ. To clarify foreign workers’ eligibility for these and other rights in the sector, it is advisable to consult with an attorney specializing in labor law and the field of foreign workers.

Contact an attorney specializing in Israeli immigration law and the field of foreign workers

For an question or issue that arises regarding a work permit for foreign hotel workers in Israel, you can contact our law offices. additional questions and assistance on this issue, you can contact our office. An attorney from our office who specializes in Israeli immigration law and the field of foreign workers will be happy to provide you with a comprehensive legal solution on this issue and a variety of other issues. You can contact our office at the telephone numbers or email address below.

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