Work visa for a foreign expert in Israel: B-1 visa
An employer who wants to obtain a work visa for a foreign expert in Israel must first check whether the candidate meets the eligibility requirements for a work visa; that is, the conditions for submitting a work visa application to employ a foreign expert. Without prior planning and understanding of the conditions for this visa, employers will most likely encounter difficulties in obtaining work visas for the foreign experts they need.
Who is considered a “foreign expert”?
A foreign expert is an employee with specific and unique knowledge and expertise that cannot be found in the State of Israel. A foreign expert can only be hired once he or she has received a work permit, prior to them even entering Israel.
Firstly, it must be noted that hiring of foreign experts must be conducted according to the Foreign Workers Law. The B-1 visa is a work visa given to foreign experts and artists who arrive in Israel for work purposes.
To be clear, any foreigner seeking to work in Israel must first apply for a work permit, or have their employer apply for one on their behalf, prior to entering Israel. In most cases, the B-1 visa is valid for a single year, although in some cases it is possible to extend the visa up to a maximum of five years, as specified in the Entry into Israel Law. Further extension requires filing a special application. In addition, in some cases it is possible for foreign experts to have their first-degree family members join them in living in Israel.
Types of B-1 work visas for foreign experts
- Temporary work visa for a period of three months only — a visa granted to temporary workers who come for short-term work.
- Work visa for a period of one year or more — can be extended every year up to a maximum of five years.
- Short-term work visa for up to 45 days.
- Work visa for foreign spouses of Israeli citizens.
- Work and study visa for Jews who are not Israeli residents and who do not currently wish to immigrate to Israel.
What is important to know when applying for a work visa for a foreign expert?
The work visa application is submitted by the company wishing to employ a foreign worker. The company submits an application for a work visa for a foreign worker in Israel. One of the criteria for obtaining a work visa is the state-set quota for the number of foreign workers in each sector, such as agriculture, nursing and construction. If the quota is not yet filled, there is a good chance of receiving a work visa for a foreign expert.
As mentioned above, the type of work visa required for foreign experts is a B-1 visa. Each foreign worker’s visa application is examined individually based on the need, the field and the scale of the project. It is possible to apply for a B-1 visa for a period of one year for a foreign expert with the relevant academic education and specific expertise that cannot be obtained in Israel. In such cases, the foreign expert’s salary must be at least double the standard salary in their industry in Israel, amounting to tens of thousands of shekels per month.
It should be clear that employing a foreign worker in Israel without a work visa is strictly prohibited. This constitutes a criminal offense which can lead to fines and penalties that may seriously damage the business.
Fast-track work permit for 45 workdays per calendar year: intended for short-term projects
Due to increasing demand for foreign experts, Israeli legislators decided to simplify matters by allowing foreign experts to enter Israel to work on small projects for a short and focused period of 45 days per calendar year. Under the expedited procedure for obtaining a work visa, foreign experts will be allowed to enter the State of Israel without first physically receiving their work permits, and instead pick them up at the office of the Ministry of Interior approximately two days after their arrival in Israel.
According to this rule, foreign experts may only work in Israel for the purpose for which their work permit was issued. The allotted workdays can be split up within the same calendar year, but the fast-track work permit cannot be extended.
Which documents are required to obtain a work visa for a foreign expert?
- For local companies — an accountant’s confirmation that the company is active.
- The foreign expert’s CV and certificates of education and expertise.
- An up-to-date printout from the Corporations Registrar, business licensing or the Partnerships Registrar.
- A letter explaining the rationale and reasons behind the request for a foreign expert, and documents indicating the need for an expert in that specific field.
- For foreign companies — a power of attorney granting authority to the applicant who is applying for the foreign expert.
Contact an attorney to get a work visa for a foreign expert
Our law firm specializes in obtaining work visas for foreign experts in Israel. If you want to bring foreign workers to Israel, or you are a foreign worker with a serious offer from an Israeli employer who is not experienced in the matter, contact us. We will be happy to schedule a meeting in our legal offices in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, or a remote call.