How to: Get a Work Visa in Israel
In this article, we talk to Amit Bechler about immigration in Israel. More specifically, he touches on work visas, how internationals can obtain them, the challenges applicants may face and to handle them.
How can internationals gain a work visa for Israel?
A work visa for internationals in Israel is given in specific sectors, including construction, agriculture, nursing, and restaurants. An organisation that wishes to employ a worker in Israel in different industries must apply for an “Expert Permit”, which is a wide-ranging category, whereby it is possible to apply in order to employ workers in a variety of sectors.
A foreign expert who wishes to work in Israel, must be sponsored by an employer who wishes to employ him and has already received a specific work permit.
There are several different categories of work permits for experts, which determine different threshold conditions. The main type of foreign experts’ permit is “Expert with expert remuneration.” This permit is intended for employees with a high level of expertise or who possess essential and unique knowledge that employees in Israel do not possess. A criterion for the employment of a foreign worker under this category is that the wage paid to the worker is over or equal to at least double the average salary in Israel (approx. NIS 20,000).
There are also additional types of visas for experts for shorter periods in which the requirement to pay double the average wage is waived, and therefore, will also be suitable for workers with a lower salary. In addition, there are particular types of permits for managers and a senior representative of international companies and employees in high-tech and cyber companies.
Due to the complexity of the processes, it is recommended to conduct the procedure accompanied by a lawyer in Israel who has experience in the field.
Is it difficult to obtain a work visa for expert? What challenges can occur for those trying to gain a work visa?
The process for obtaining a permit to employ a foreign “expert” is a complex bureaucratic process that may take several months and requires the collection and preparation of various documents, the writing of an explanatory document to submit to the Authority, the payment of administrative fees and the signing of affidavits. In addition, the employee himself is required to conduct a number of proceedings with the Ministry of the Interior in Israel and the Israeli Consulate in his country of origin in order to arrange work and entry visas in Israel. Due to the complexity of the processes, it is recommended to conduct the procedure accompanied by a lawyer in Israel who has experience in the field.
Do you think there should be any changes in this area, for the betterment of your clients and companies wishing to hire international employees?
The major challenge for Israeli authorities is to precipitate the process of obtaining the work visa, without prejudice to Israel’s security needs, which require a background check of those entering the country. In the current global economy, overseas workers are required to come to Israel on a short notice to handle urgent cases such as technical breakdowns in equipment. These workers often experience procedural difficulties and delays in obtaining a visa. Israeli authorities appear to be aware of the need to improve visa processing times, and several procedures have already been established for issuing visas in expedited procedures. However, these expedited procedures take at least a week and in some cases, it’s too long.
Amit Bechler, Associate
Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co
Adv. Amit Bechler. Associate at Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co. Leads the Firm’s immigration practice and proficient in the various procedures for obtaining work permits and work visas for foreign employees in Israel. Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co is one of Israel’s premier full-service law firms, repeatedly ranked by international and domestic indices among Israel’s leading law firms.