Israeli law prohibits the employment of a person who is not an Israeli citizen or resident (and provides that it is a criminal offense to do so), except if a special permit is obtained from the Population and Immigration Authority (the “Authority”) pursuant to the Foreign Workers Law, 1991. Accordingly, a company looking to employ a non-Israeli employee in an expert position which requires special training or skills, needs to apply for a permit to do so. The application process may be complex, often takes a prolonged period of time, and involves fees and expenses by the employer.
In February 2018, the Authority released new ‘pilot’ guidelines granting certain relief and more favorable arrangements for hi-tech companies recognized by the Israeli Innovation Authority as having a need to employ workers with special expertise required for the development of certain products or services.
The pilot was created in the context of the government’s encouragement of the hi-tech sector given its importance to the economy, and the government’s recognition that foreign experts are likely to contribute to the sector. Therefore, the government concluded that it was important to remove obstacles to the employment of foreign experts in Israel.
The new guidelines provide for the receipt of a permit to employ a foreign expert in the hi-tech sector in an expedited process that eliminates a significant amount of the documentation otherwise required to obtain a permit. The Authority has undertaken to make efforts to issue an employment permit within 6 days from the date of submission of the application and, following the issuance of a permit, the foreign employee will be permitted to enter Israel to work – this in contrast to the regular process that takes approximately two months.
The guidelines also allow a hi-tech company to request to employ a foreign employee who completed an academic degree in an Israeli academic institution in electrical engineering, electronics, computers (including software engineering), information systems, and computer science.
A further feature of the guidelines is that they enable a foreign expert employed in the hi-tech sector to apply for residency and employment permit for his or her spouse, without the need for the spouse to separately apply for a permit. This relief will likely provide an incentive for foreign expert workers to relocate to Israel for the purpose of working in the hi-tech sector.
Our firm has extensive experience in advising employers on the process of obtaining work permits for foreign experts in Israel.
For further information please feel free to contact:
Adv. Amit Bechler | firstname.lastname@example.org | +972.3.6069656