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Israeli Immigration Lawyer’s Advice on an Israeli Work Visa

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

Work Visa Israel – What You Need to Know addresses types of visas and regulations for foreign workers in Israel.

It is important to know the law in Israel concerning Israeli work visas in order to avoid making mistakes as Israel’s immigration laws are very strict.  Israel’s immigration rules apply to those who are Jewish or of Jewish heritage; those who are not Jewish cannot immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return (which is known as making aliyah to Israel) and are regulated by the 1952 Law of Entry to Israel. In this law the Israeli Minister of Interior is authorized to issue different types of visas to Israel, such as visitor visas for tourists, which are called B/2 visas, for up to three months; temporary and permanent residency permits; and work visas to Israel. However, the Ministry of Interior regulations, which are published from time to time on the website of the Population and Immigration Department website, outline the specific criteria and obligations for foreign residents who seek an Israeli work visa.

The Government Regulates Employment of Foreign Workers in Israel

It is important to know that, in general, the state of Israel does not encourage local Israeli companies and employers to hire workers from abroad. The Israeli government would prefer for Israeli employers to employ Israeli workers. However, due to market forces, in areas that lack local Israeli workers or workers with a specific expertise, the Israeli government will allow the employment of foreign workers. The Israeli government may restrict the number of Israeli work visas which are issued each year. Also, the Ministry of Interior may raise the fee which the employer is required to pay for the work visa or the government will raise the tax on the employment for workers who are not Israeli. These measures are taken in order to encourage Israeli companies and employers to use local Israeli workers. We write elsewhere on expediting the process of hiring a foreign expert worker, if you are interested.

Different Types of Israeli Work Visas

There are several different categories in which it is possible to receive an Israeli work visa. Most of the work visas to Israel are obtained for specific areas of employment in which there is a real need for workers from outside Israel. For example, when it comes to caretakers, Israel issues approximately 50,000 work visas each year. Most of these visas are given to Filipino women who are experienced and trained as caretakers of the elderly and sick. Other than that, in lesser numbers, work visas to Israel are granted to foreign workers in the fields of building construction, agriculture (most of the Israeli work visas in the area of agriculture are given to nationals of Thailand), as well as Israeli work visas for cooks and chefs in restaurants.

Expert Work Visa Israel

work visa Israel - expert workers

In 2015 around 3,500 Israeli work visas were issued to skilled expert workers, mostly in the area of industry and high-tech. These work visas are given to foreign citizens who can prove they have a special expertise. The logic behind this expert work visa is that it will allow the local Israeli employer to expand their business and eventually hire more local workers due to the contribution of the foreign worker. These Israeli work visas are primarily given in the fields of industry and high-tech, but not exclusively. The local employer is required to pay the expert worker twice the average salary in Israel. However, Israeli work visas for experts are also granted in the fields of sports, medicine, diamonds, academics, and even the arts, namely for artists.

Employing a Foreign Worker in Israel

The Process of Receiving a Work Visa Israel

In order to receive an Israeli work visa, one must apply through the Ministry of Interior in Israel. The local potential employer is the one who files the request at the Population and Immigration office. It is advisable to consult an Israeli immigration lawyer for the purpose of obtaining a work visa.

The first step is to submit the request with the aim to convince a Ministry of Interior committee regarding the need to employ the foreign worker. The second step, after the employment has been approved, is to issue the work visa itself. After these two steps, the foreign worker is allowed to enter Israel and start working.

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If you seek legal assistance on this topic– Work Visa Israel – What You Need to Know — whether obtaining an Israeli visa (a work visa or otherwise) or immigration to Israel, please contact us.

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