Israel: Relocation To Israel - New High Tech And Cyber Regulation For Foreign National Experts

Last Updated: 22 March 2019
Article by Hanan Iftach

Israeli high-tech companies are currently experiencing a labor shortage of about 8,000 workers a year.  Rather than lack in position, this is due to lack in employees who have the specific expertise sought out by high-tech companies. 

As a result, and in an effort to set the high-tech industry, which is considered one of the Israeli economy's growth-engines, in motion, the Population and Immigration Authority implemented a procedure targeted at the high-tech and cyber industries.  This procedure is the first step of a proposed solution to the labor shortage experienced in these industries. 

The new procedure, which is designed to settle the status of foreign national experts in the high-tech and cyber industries in Israel, came into force on February 2018.  It enables the mobilization of experts to Israel more rapidly, and with considerably less bureaucracy. 

First and foremost, based on this accelerated procedure, the Innovation Corporation acknowledges high-tech companies as technology knowledge-intensive corporations. 

This is a prerequisite for submitting an expedited request for the absorption of employees.  To this end, these companies must comply with certain terms so that they may receive a research and development grant or a tax certificate.

The new procedure introduces three beneficial provisions to the employment of foreign national experts by companies recognized as technology knowledge-intensive corporations. 

Relocating a foreign national expert to Israel for the time-period of up to one year:

High-tech/cyber companies may submit a request for the employment of a foreign national expert who has a unique specialty, and for the purpose of executing a task in Israel, for up to one year at a time, and under the following (accumulated) terms:

The foreign national expert holds a valid passport of a country entitled to a B/2 visa exemption (a visa given to most tourists, which allows for staying in Israel's boundaries for up to three months).

The expert's salary will not be lower than twice the average (experts') salary in the market.

The expert will be employed in Research and Development, or in a specialized capacity, assisting a business activity relating to a product or service developed by the company.

The main advantage in submitting an application under this term is that the requests will be discussed within 6 workdays of the day they are received, as much as it is possible. 

Employing a Foreign National Academic Graduate:

High-tech/Cyber companies may submit an application for the employment of   a foreign citizen who graduated from a full academic program in a higher-education  institution in Israel in one of the following professions: Electrical Engineering,  Electronics, Computers, Information Systems, or Computer Science. 

Under this provision, the graduate's permit's term will be up to 12 months from the date of his/her eligibility for the academic degree.  Under this procedure, up to 500 employment permits (to academic graduates) may be given simultaneously.

In regard to the permit, the decision will be made up to 30 workdays from receiving a recommendation (if relevant) or obtaining additional documents (if needed). 

The rest of the guidelines pertaining to the employment of a foreign national expert will apply to the high-tech company and the academic graduate. 

The Employment of Foreign National High-Tech Experts and Their Partners for

Over a 90-Days' Period:

This provision provides a solution for one of the main obstacles to bringing an expert worker - the partner's employment.  This arrangement allows the foreign national high-tech expert's partner to be employed in Israel in any desired position.  The application may be submitted by an employee with a work permit in Israel for the time period of over 90 days.  Next, the permit's recipient may submit an application for a B/1 (a tourist visa with a work permit) work visa for his/her partner. 

The advantage of this arrangement is that it will not be necessary to submit an application for a work permit as required by the normal procedure which saves time and prevents bureaucracy.  Other than this, the expert's partner may work in any desired position sans restrictions and without the need to earn twice as much as the average salary in the market. 

Nonetheless, and for the sake of preventing delays in receiving permits, as well as in various procedures, it is recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in immigration and employee relocation.  This preliminary consultation will enable matching effective solutions to specific, concrete cases.  It will also allow for a swift, inexpensive, and lawful implementation of these provisions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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