Jun 02 2021

Temporary Regulation Allows Employers to Apply for Work Permits and Work Visas for Specific Occupations Until June 8

Israel

At a Glance

  • The Ministry of Interior published a temporary regulation that will allow employers to apply for work permits and work visas for foreign nationals in certain occupations for a trial period until June 8, 2021. This period may be extended.
  • The regulation allows for a maximum of 2,000 employee permits to be issued in occupations in the industrial and manufacturing sectors and for mechanical engineers, inventory clerks, and machine operators, among others.
  • The permit will only be available to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, the Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
  • Employers who seek to obtain these visas should immediately contact their immigration provider for assistance, since the window for applications is extremely short.

The situation

The Ministry of Interior published a temporary regulation which will allow employers to apply for work permits and work visas for foreign nationals in certain occupations for a trial period until June 8, 2021.

A closer look

Details of the new permit are as follows:

  • Application process. Employers should submit work permit applications to the Ministry of Economics by June 8, 2021. Upon approval, an additional application must be submitted to the Work Permit Unit, which will issue a work permit.
  • Duration of work permit. The work permits will be valid for one year.
  • Occupations. The permits must be for foreign nationals falling under one of the four occupational groups:
    • Group 1. Industrial, manufacturing and mechanical engineers.
    • Group 2. Occupations including but not limited to: electrical, practical, mechanical, or field service engineers and technicians, forklift operators, welders, locksmiths, blacksmiths, and metalworkers
    • Group 3. Occupations including but not limited to: inventory clerks (warehouses), machine operators and furniture carpenters.
    • Group 4. Other occupations not specified on the preferential occupation list may also be permitted on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Ministry of Economics.
  • Nationality limitations. This permit is only available to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, the Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
  • Quota. The temporary regulation allows for a maximum of 2,000 employee permits to be issued. There is a specific quota of permits allocated for each sub-group.
  • Lower prevailing wage. The temporary regulation allows employers to pay a lower prevailing wage than is required for Foreign Experts. Specifically, for Group 1, the minimum wage is NIS 17,205 per month and for Groups 2-4, the minimum required wage is NIS 13,699 gross per month. Currently, the minimum wage for Foreign Experts is NIS 20,860 gross per month
  • Direct employment. The work permits will only be issued to foreign workers who are directly employed by an Israeli company and on local payroll.

Impact

Employers seeking to hire workers in the above-listed occupations should immediately contact their immigration provider for assistance as the filing window for applications is extremely short and it is not yet clear if it will be extended.

Background

The Israeli government has significantly restricted the availability of new work permits to foreign nationals since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As a result, there are industries which critically need foreign workers to fill employment gaps, leading the government to create this temporary permit.

Looking ahead

There is a possibility that the trial period will be extended, allowing employers to continue applying for the permits. Fragomen will provide updates should this occur.

Fragomen worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm to prepare this alert. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].