Written by: Chloe Smeader
Israel offers diverse visa options for those interested in working there, with plenty of opportunities arising from its innovative and dynamic business market. Known as the Start-up nation, Israel has numerous businesses consistently creating job prospects. Entrepreneurs seeking a new career path can benefit from specific visas tailored to their needs. Whether you aspire to work in a tech-driven start-up or any other field, Israel’s progressive visa system makes your dream of working there a reality. Knowing that a tourist visa cannot be changed to a work visa upon or after entering Israel, if not arranged in advance, is essential. If you enter with the intention to work but do not have the proper visa, it could raise suspicions with border control officers and result in your refusal to the country.
Working in Israel as a foreign citizen:
Israel has plenty of viable opportunities for Jewish and non-Jewish immigrants. The job market is competitive, though, because Israelis are competing for the same jobs. Popular fields of work are; in the fields of medicine, law, business, marketing, education, and technology. Being self-employed is also an option, and some popular careers are; consultants, translators, tutors, artists, and writers. Before applying for any visa, looking online at different options before arriving in Israel is essential. In order to acquire a visa for self-employment, you would need to apply for either the Expert visa or the B5 visa since Israel does not grant visas to people looking for self-employment opportunities. It is also important to know that being employed by an existing Israeli company or a representative in Israel of an international company that seeks business activity in Israel is an easier option than being self employed.
When applying for a visa to work in Israel, it is important to know that your employer must do this for you. They need to prove your necessary skills as a foreign worker. Most work visas are granted for a year at a time, up to a maximum of 5 years, but under some circumstances may be extended longer. Israel’s immigration laws are stringent, therefore it is important to know that they will not accept any workers who they think will end up settling in Israel. This means that immigrants over the age of sixty are not allowed to apply for a work visa. Migrants with relatives in Israel or people with work visas to another country could also be denied access to work in Israel.
B5 visa – special opportunity for Americas only
The B-5 investment work visa is also popularly used by people who are looking to invest in Israeli businesses as American citizens. It was the first work visa that extended the ability for U.S. citizens to invest in Israel. The visa usually lasts one to two years and can be renewed annually. In some circumstances, the visa can be extended for a period of time longer than 1-2 years, depending on the state of the company. It is granted to American citizens who have made a substantial investment in Israeli Business or plan to build a company. This visa helps Americans start a business while living in Israel and allows family members to join them. Also, if necessary, essential employees can be granted visas if it is crucial in building your planned business.
E2 investment visa for Israelis who wish to move to the US
The B5 visa was proposed back in 2012 but was not implemented for almost a decade because of reciprocity issues. In order for U.S. citizens to have the right to invest in Israel, the Israeli government believed it was crucial that Israelis also have the ability to get a visa to invest in American businesses. The reciprocal of the B5 visa for Israeli citizens is known as the E-2 investment visa. The E-2 allows Israelis to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.
B1 Expert visa to Israel for highly skilled foreign workers
Another work visa option is known as the Expert Work visa or B1, this type of visa is tough to obtain, and the process can be very time-consuming. There are specific laws that need to be followed by the hiring company and the expert worker. In order for the worker to be eligible, they have to prove these three things: the foreign worker possesses and is able to perform the specific expertise needed, local Israeli specialists do not have the necessary training, knowledge, or professionalism to perform the expertise needed, and as a result of the contribution of the foreign expert, the company will hire more local workers and the Israeli economy will benefit. The hiring company also has requirements they must meet, such as; being willing to pay the foreign worker a salary twice the market average, proving that they need the services of the expert employee, obtaining verification from the Permits Committee of the Ministry of the Interior that the expert is needed. Two actions need to be completed to obtain the visa. The Department of Specialist Workers committee must approve the work permit, and The Ministry of the Interior ratifies and issues a B/1 work visa, valid for one year.
If you are considering moving to Israel for work or have questions about this process, contact our law office. There are plenty of experienced Israeli immigration lawyers that would be happy to assist you. We have two accessible offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for your convenience.