The employment of foreign workers in Israel is governed by the Foreign Workers Law (1991).
Since the 1990s, Israel has witnessed the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers who have taken up temporary employment in various roles.
As per the FWL, the Minister of the Interior has the authority to issue a visa and a residence permit to a foreigner who is in the process of being admitted to Israel for employment.
Additionally, the FWL lays out specific rules and regulations for migrants employed in Israel.
Likewise, the Foreign Workers Rights Handbook outlines the rights of foreign employees, highlighting the areas in which these rights align with those of Israeli nationals.
This guide provides comprehensive information on the terms and requirements for hiring foreign workers in Israel. It covers essential topics such as work permit prerequisites, visa-supporting documents, and more.
3 Steps to Employing Foreign Workers in Israel
If you are an Israeli employer, you can hire foreign workers in the country only after obtaining an appropriate work permit from the competent authorities.
Additionally, the worker must obtain a B/1 work visa in accordance with section 2 (c) of the Entry into Israel Law, 1952.
Let’s have a closer look at each of the steps involved in the hiring process.
Step 1: Check If You Meet The Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers in Israel
Before initiating the process of employing foreign workers in Israel, it is essential to verify your compliance with the legal prerequisites.
These requirements include:
- You must operate in a regulated industry. Only employers operating in the following sectors are permitted to hire migrant workers: construction, agriculture, industry, nursing, and ethnic restaurant industries. For example, it is generally illegal to employ a foreign worker in Israel for domestic chores, house renovations, childcare, and other sectors that aren’t regulated by law.
- If you do not plan on hiring workers in one of the industries outlined above, you may employ an expert foreign worker. The expert professionals you hire must fall under one of the following categories:
- Manager, senior representative, or trusted employee of a foreign or international company
- A senior member of staff in a foreign airline or shipping company
- Lecturer or researcher in an institute of higher education
- Researcher employed under the EU Framework Program
- Medical intern or expert at a hospital
- Diamond merchant
- Foreign photographer or correspondent
- Foreign academic graduate in the high-tech profession
- Representatives of armies of foreign countries
- Foreign experts arriving in Israel for short periods of up to 90 days for the performance of a temporary or provisional task
- “Expert wages” expert
- You must comply with the specific quotas the Israeli Government has set for each industry.
- If you wish to hire an expert foreign worker, you must be able to pay the foreign worker twice the average salary that would be paid to an Israeli national
- The foreign workers you intend to hire must be under the age of 60
Step 2: Apply for a Work Permit
After finding the right candidate for the role, you must apply for a work permit on their behalf.
You must submit the application online to the Permits Department of the Population and Immigration Authority.
The procedure requires you to demonstrate the lack of suitable Israeli candidates for the role. It also requires you to prove that the foreign individual possesses the right qualifications and skills.
The Permits Department enables you to apply for two different types of work permits. You can apply for permits for expert foreign workers and permits for foreign workers in the nursing sector.
Work Permit for Expert Foreign Workers in Israel: Supporting Documents
The supporting documents you must submit for expert foreign workers are as follows:
- Worker’s professional resume
- Worker’s relevant diplomas, degrees, and certificates
- An accountant’s report confirming the company’s active status without any “ongoing entity warning”
- A certified copy of the 102 form that you submitted to the National Insurance Institute. The form, detailing Israeli workers’ information, must cover the last 3 months
- For foreign companies without an Israel-based branch: power of attorney
- Any additional documents that justify the need for employing foreign workers in Israel
After attaching the supporting documents and paying the fee (NIS 1,300), you may submit the application.
Make sure you save the reference number so you can check online the status of your application.
Work Permit for Foreign Workers in the Nursing Sector: Supporting Documents
When applying for a work permit for foreign workers in the nursing sector, you must submit the following documents:
- Fully completed and signed application form
- Copy of ID card and slip
- Any additional required documents that justify the need for employing a foreign worker
- Proof of paid application fee (NIS 310)
Please note that permits for foreign workers in the nursing sector are only granted to persons with disabilities who need assistance.
To learn more about the requirements for this type of work permit, please refer to this link.
Step 3: Apply for a B/1 Work Visa
In this stage of the process, once you’ve got the work permit, the Ministry of the Interior can then issue a B/1 work visa.
You must apply for a visa on behalf of your future employee. The application must be submitted to the regional Population Authority Bureaus, at the address specified in the work permit.
Upon the visa issuance, the Ministry of the Interior will send it to the Israeli consulate in the applicant’s home country.
The documents required for a B/1 visa are as follows:
- Fully completed and signed application form
- Two passport-size photos of the worker
- A photocopy of the worker’s passport. The passport must be valid for at least one year
- A photocopy of the work permit
- Payment of the annual fee in accordance with section 1J of the Foreign Workers Law
- Medical certificate stating that the applicant is in good health and free from contagious diseases
- Affidavit stating that the applicant does not have relatives in Israel
- Affidavit stating that the applicant agrees to have his fingerprints taken
- Affidavit stating that the foreign worker acknowledges that they are scheduled to be employed in the specific area of expertise. The declaration must also state that they possess the required skills and qualifications
- Proof of a clean criminal record
- Medical insurance
The fee for a B/1 work visa is NIS 185.
In most cases, the Ministry of the Interior processes the applications in 2-4 months.
Upon approval of the application, the worker will get a visa valid for a period of 30 days. After entering Israel, they will receive a visa valid for one year that can be renewed annually for up to 5 years.
Hiring Foreign Workers in Israel: Final Considerations
There is currently an increasing demand to employ foreign workers in Israel. However, for local companies, hiring migrants involves a complex bureaucratic process that may take several months.
The process requires the collection and preparation of various documents and the payment of administrative fees.
That’s why it’s crucial for Israeli employers to stay abreast of the laws and regulations concerning migrant workers. This will safeguard your business’s interests and keep your workforce legal and secure.
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