February 13, 2014

In efforts to increase both the available options for foreign nationals to live and work in Israel, as well as increase compliance with immigration policies, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has announced two new work permit processes: two-year work permits for foreign experts and managers, and plans for a 30-day work authorization for certain nationalities.

The MOI has confirmed that both the traditional one-year and the three-month work permits will still be available.

Two-Year Work Permit for Foreign Experts and Managers

Announced on February 5, but retroactive to applications filed as of January 1, 2014, the Work Permit Unit of the MOI has confirmed that foreign nationals may begin to apply for two-year work permits rather than the traditional one-year permit. While this new option will be very beneficial for longer-term assignments lasting more than one year, the application process for the two-year work permit is expected to have additional document requirements, increased application scrutiny, and longer processing times.

In addition, it is important to note that this two year validity is for the work permit only; the B-1 entry visa will still be issued for the traditional 1 year and will require the standard renewal. Although the specifics of this visa renewal have yet to be confirmed, it is anticipated that the processing times and requirements will be shorter for holders of this new two-year work permit.

30-Day Work Authorization for Certain Nationalities Announced for Urgent, Short-Term Travel

The MOI has also announced their plans to implement a 30-day work authorization for certain nationalities with which Israel has agreements in place.

Once implemented, applicants from the eligible countries would be able to file their short-term work authorization applications with the MOI in Israel outlining the urgent nature of their assignment. If approved, the employee would then be able to enter the country on a B-2 Business Visa containing the special permission to conduct work activities during his/her stay. Processing times are expected to be quite fast in order to accommodate the pressing nature of the employee’s travel.

Please note that, at the time of this writing, many of the specifics for this 30-day work authorization have yet to be announced including the official regulations for the authorization. Pro-Link GLOBAL continues to monitor the situation closely and will report when further updates are made available.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

For those employers considering sending employees to Israel for assignments lasting longer than one year, the new two-year work permit option will be of great benefit as their assignees will not be required to undergo the sometimes-extensive work permit renewal process after one year. However, employers should keep in mind that the two-year permit will require a more rigorous application process in order to provide sufficient evidence that the longer validity is necessary.

Companies who may need to send their employees to Israel on short-term, urgent assignments should take note not only of the details for the new 30-day work permission option, but also the possible restrictions they may face. Only certain nationalities will be eligible for this short-term work permission if their country of citizenship has agreements in place with the Israeli government.

Finally, as these are both relatively new policies, please note that there is the significant possibility of sudden and unexpected changes to the document requirements, processing times, and regulations surrounding both new permit types. Employers should remain flexible to these changes as the Israeli authorities streamline and standardize their own processes and protocols.

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Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Knowledge Management team. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGM Correspondent Office in Israel to provide you this update.

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