ISRAEL (June 7, 2017) – Israel adopts new regulations on work visas for technical projects

The new regulations were adopted to streamline processing and to determine projects types that require foreign nationals with specific technological or mechanical expertise

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IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Israel has published new regulations on work visas for foreign nationals working on large- or medium-scale projects that require specific technological or mechanical expertise.

What does the change mean? The new regulations were written to streamline processing and to establish a means for determining what types of projects require foreign nationals with specific technological or mechanical expertise who would not otherwise qualify for work visas. The new regulations allow for the waiver of a key salary requirement to enable companies to bring such workers, mostly blue-collar skilled employees, to Israel. Few details were released, however, on what projects will qualify.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The regulations were published last week, but certain aspects of the programs remain unclear.
  • Visas/permits affected: B-1 work visas for foreign nationals working on projects that require specific technological or mechanical expertise.
  • Who is affected: Companies with special projects that require specific technological or mechanical expertise.
  • Impact on processing times: While the regulations are meant to streamline processes, companies should file their work visa applications no less than six months ahead of time and should contact BAL eight months before a project’s start date if interested in this option.

Background: The application process for the work visas described have some similarities with the process for obtaining a regular B-1 work visa. Employers will be required to submit separate written applications for each foreign employee. Applications should include a project description and an explanation of the employee’s expertise, skills and knowledge.

Israeli companies contracting with foreign companies to complete a project must also provide copies of the contracts they have with their foreign partners.

The normal requirement that companies pay foreign workers double the average Israeli salary will be waived for workers coming to Israel via this route. Employers will be required, however, to meet other employment standards and conditions, including providing an employment contract, adequate housing and medical insurance, among other requirements. Foreign nationals must be directly employed by the foreign employer and cannot be third-party employees or freelancers.

BAL Analysis: While the new program offers the potential to help Israeli companies in need of project-related technological or mechanical expertise, some key details remain unavailable at this point and it may prove difficult for private sector company projects to qualify for this visa route. Those interested in the program should contact BAL at least eight months ahead of a project’s start date to allow for BAL to determine if this option will be available and to allow for adequate planning and time for visa processing.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Israel. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney. 

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