Who Can Help Me Navigate Israel’s Immigration Laws? Our legal team is a leader in navigating immigration, visas, and Aliyah to Israel. We excel in securing Israeli work visas for overseas specialists. Consequently, a frequent query we face is, “How can I move to Israel for work, especially if I’m a non-Jew?”
In the forthcoming paragraphs, we will elucidate the legal and practical aspects of securing a work visa in Israel for foreigners. We will also address a pressing query: Is it possible for individuals not covered by the Law of Return to find employment in Israel without special expertise?
Who Really Receives the Work Visa – the Employee or the Employer?
It’s vital to highlight a pivotal difference in Israel’s approach: foreign citizens aren’t given work visas as entry permits to scout for job opportunities. Contrarily, the onus is on an Israeli company to initiate a request with the Interior Ministry to recruit a foreign national. It is incumbent upon the employer to justify the necessity of a foreign specialist, demonstrating the lack of a suitable Israeli candidates for the role. Upon preliminary approval, the company must prove that the chosen foreign individual possesses the requisite skill set.
This procedure might appear confusing, especially considering that immigrants, spouses of Israeli citizens, and certain asylum applicants have the freedom to explore any job opportunity in Israel. Yet, this cohort doesn’t arrive as foreign employees but as citizens, interim residents, or semi-temporary residents.
How Can I Move to Israel for Work without Undergoing Aliyah?
Israel faces perennial shortages in several sectors, prompting the recruitment of foreign workers in roles deemed “difficult”. Typically, sectors like agriculture, nursing, and construction have vacancies filled by foreigners, facilitated through domestic human resource firms.
Foreign specialists, predominantly in domains like high-tech, industry, and technology, represent another category. These experts must align with elevated salary benchmarks, and their employers should illustrate the challenge of finding local talent for these specialized roles.
International conglomerates often deploy their specialist staff to inaugurate or amplify an Israeli subsidiary.
Asylum seekers or “economic infiltrators” sometimes find themselves inaccurately labeled as “foreign workers”. Their numbers might be sparse, but their presence often captures significant public attention. It’s crucial to underscore that while these asylum seekers don’t have work visas, some can work without permits, as per the Supreme Court’s directive, while their application is under scrutiny.
Illegal foreign workers comprise another category. These individuals, usually tourists from the erstwhile Soviet Union or pilgrims from African or South American nations, enter Israel and subsequently pursue unauthorized employment. Such actions invite potential deportation for these workers and hefty fines for their Israeli employers.
Lastly, U.S. citizens possess the privilege to initiate businesses in Israel and settle there under the B-5 business visa. Employees of such businesses and the immediate families of investors or workers are eligible for B-5 visa sub-categories, permitting them to reside and work.
What’s the Process to Secure a Visa as a Specialist Foreign Worker?
Should you harbor unique expertise, an Israeli business must identify and champion your distinctive capabilities. They must liaise with the Ministry of Interior and, typically with legal assistance, corroborate:
A) The indispensability of an employee with a rare skill set or knowledge.
B) The inclusion of the foreign expert would stimulate business expansion, create opportunities for Israeli employees, and bolster the Israeli economy.
The permit application to recruit an expert foreign worker carries a fee of approximately NIS 1,200. Upon approval, a further fee of NIS 10,000 is levied on the employer. Furthermore, it’s mandatory for the specialist employee to receive remuneration that is at least double the average Israeli salary.
Can Anyone Obtain a Specialist Work Visa Outside the Hi-Tech Sector?
While a significant portion of expert workers migrate to Israel to contribute to major projects within well-established companies, this doesn’t encapsulate the entire scenario. There are foreign nationals who assume leadership roles in Israeli firms or represent multinational corporations.
The range of expertise is not confined to tech. Essentially, anyone possessing a distinctive skill, rare within Israel, but sought after by a business prepared to invest time and resources, can be a candidate for this visa. This means we see foreign experts in roles as varied as ethnic restaurant chefs, animal training specialists, and athletic trainers. Even smaller enterprises can secure permission to hire a foreign expert, regardless of the intended duration of their stay.
However, it’s imperative to note that Israel doesn’t face a scarcity in many professions. For example, roles like lawyers, language instructors, or journalists are adequately filled. Thus, even if you graduated from a top-tier institution and have commendable qualifications, if your expertise isn’t in demand, securing a specialist work visa might be challenging.
If I Know a Business Owner in Israel, Can They Secure a Specialist Work Visa for Me?
Legally, nothing precludes Israeli entrepreneurs from hiring a friend or relative from abroad. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to validate that the foreign recruit possesses a unique skill set or knowledge base that’s unavailable locally.
What About Individuals Without Distinctive Skills? How Can I Move to Israel for Work?
Wondering if there’s a route to employment in Israel without a direct job offer from an Israeli firm or without being a top expert? Yes, Israel grants a multitude of work visas to non-specialist foreign workers, notably in sectors like agriculture, construction, and caregiving.
These workers are typically sourced by specialized Israeli firms. For instance, agricultural workers are predominantly from Asian countries, while caregivers often hail from the Philippines or the former USSR. The prerequisites for these roles don’t necessarily entail specialist skills. However, applicants must demonstrate a clean criminal record, have no prior entry denials to Israel, and have never applied for asylum within the country.
Would Applying for Asylum Facilitate Employment in Israel?
This avenue seems tempting for many unable to secure employment via traditional routes. However, there are substantial factors to weigh, both practical and ethical.
From a practical standpoint, your application will likely face rejection, leading to potential re-entry restrictions. Due to the surge in “asylum seekers” primarily motivated by economic prospects, Israel’s approach to processing such requests has grown stringent. By 2019, applicants from countries like Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine were automatically declined.
Rejections can result in potential deportations. Post-deportation or voluntary departure, both the applicant and their immediate family face re-entry challenges. Even during the application process, the asylum seeker’s family might be denied entry. Notably, any trip abroad can lead to loss of status and subsequent re-entry bars.
Even individuals with substantial claims to enter Israel—like spouses of Israeli nationals or individuals discovering their Jewish lineage and thus qualifying for Aliyah—might find their rights compromised after a failed asylum attempt.
Need Assistance with Israeli Immigration?
Should an Israeli employer be keen on procuring a specialist work visa for a foreign national, our law firm is poised to assist. To discuss your needs, reach out to us to book an appointment with our immigration specialists in either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.