By: Senior Advocate Itzik Laniado |

Many Israeli companies are often required to bring foreign experts to Israel, including citizens of India (Indian), mainly engineers, to carry out computational projects (e.g. implementing systems ERP, Banking systems, SAP, Oracle, and more), implementation of communication solutions as well as for the transfer and acquisition of knowledge.

These Indians can get a B-1 work visa in Israel, as foreign experts,  and in some cases, they can even be recognized experts in the hi-tech, provided the Israeli employer meets certain eligibility criteria. The main criteria for obtaining the work permits, beyond of need to prove the employee’s high level of knowledge and skills, is to provide proof of the ability to pay gross monthly wages at a minimum amount of double the average wage in Israel. At current the prevailing wage amount is equal to 21,000 NIS gross.

Stage I: Work Permit Application

A company, either an Israeli company or a foreign one, that wants to employ Indians as foreign experts in Israel, have two main options for permits.

1.       One year B-1 work visa for a foreign expert,

2.       3 month years and 3 months) , and the other for a period of up to three months.

According to the Ministry of Interior procedures, since Indian citizens are also required to have an entry visa to Israel as visitors, they cannot apply for a  B-1 work visa for a 45-day work visa nor to 90 days option under the hi-tech visa.

The application for an Israeli work permit will need to be submitted for each expert separately by the Israeli employer or by the employer in India, depending on the circumstances of each case. The application will need to describe each applicant’s qualification and the need for his work in Israel.

Consular Processing

Upon approval of the work permit application, the experts (still in India) need to undergo consular visa processing in their passports at the Israeli consulate in either Mumbai or Delhi. Although there is also a consulate in Bangalore, it only issues B-2 tourist visas at the time of writing this document. However, it is expected that in the future this consulate will also issue work visas, due to the vast majority of hi-tech experts in this area.

The period of the work visa starts to count from the date of receipt of the work permit approval in  Israel. Therefore there is a need to accelerate the consular processing once the employment permit is received. The familiarity with the consular process, the intermediaries in front of the consulate, and the preparation of the employee for the process are crucial factors expediting the speed of the process, This is mainly due to the complexity of the consular procedure in India and the number of documents and medical examinations required to present at the consulate.

The consular processing is individual. The applicant must apply to the consulate for the issuance of his/her work visa through the services centers VAC (Visa Application Center); In these centers, which are designed to streamline the consular process, the applicant submits the required documents such as the approval of the Ministry of the Interior to invite the employee to Israel, a recent Police Clearance, a copy of an ID card (e.g. Adhaar Card, Voter Card or Pan Card), Valid passport and proper medical examinations.

After submitting the initial documents in the service centers called VAC (Visa Application Center), The service center handles work with the consulate for the issuance of the work visa. Consulate has wide discretion, to decide if to issue the B-1 work visa in the passport/deny the application request an interview at the consulate. In case of a request for a personal interview at the consulate, the applicant may be asked to bring with him additional documents, some of which are unique to India, such as the consent of the applicant’s parents or spouse to travel and work in Israel. The spouse may also be asked to come for a personal interview, even if he/she does not intend to travel to Israel.

After Arrival to Israel

After the application is approved by the consulate, a B-1 work visa will be issued in the expert’s passport. Usually, the initial visa will be valid for 30 days. During this period, the expert is required to travel to Israel. After the expert arrives in Israel, he/she is issued with a specialist visa at the Ministry of Interior, together with a multiple entry visa, that will allow the expert to depart and return to Israel during the validity visa. If the expert will not go to Israel within 30 days from the date of issuance of the visa, he will have to start the consular procedure again.