Watch for These Red Flags When Applying for Work Permits
Minimum or Prevailing Wage
The B1 short term work permit is subject to a minimum wage requirement. The salary plus other benefits must come to at least the minimum required salary in Israel (ILS 4300 per month or approximately $1100). The B1 permit for Foreign Experts has a prevailing wage requirement: the salary plus other benefits must come to at least double the average Israeli salary.
Israel does not have any formal quota rules; however, the authorities look to see that there is a reasonable ratio between foreign and local employees. The work permit application requires disclosure of information relating to the current number of Israeli employees employed by the company. The visa may not be issued if the ratio of Israeli to non-Israeli workers exceeds a certain ratio. As a general guideline the ratio should be 1:10, although there is some flexibility if the ratio is smaller. The Ministry of Interior will generally favour applications for work permits submitted by companies that have an established base in Israel. An application has a better chance of success if it includes detailed information on the project, specifies the number of non-Israelis that are required for the project, the reasons they are required and the proposed duration of their stay in Israel.
Labor Market Test
B1 Foreign Expert permit - The Company must provide proof that there are no local employees that can fill the position being offered to the foreign national. In addition, it is essential to explain and emphasize in the application how hiring the Foreign Expert is likely to have an economic benefit through the creation of local employment opportunities.
Cooling Off Period
Foreign national can work in Israel up to 5 years and 3 month from date of first work visa in Israel.
The Company must advise the Ministry of Interior in case of termination of the approved assignment or employment. The notification should be given in writing as soon as possible after the employee’s departure.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In cases where there is a merger or acquisition of the employer company, it is critical to review the proposed new structure at least 3 months prior to the effective date to determine the requirements for continuity of the work permit.
Service Contract Projects
Where the assignment is for a project involving a service contract with an Israeli company, a copy of the contract must be provided in support of the application. It is important to note that the foreign employee will only be permitted to work at the location or locations and for the requested position specified in the application and work permit approval.
The company must:
• Provide suitable accommodation for foreign national employees. • Pay salary on a continuous monthly basis (either the prevailing wage or minimum salary) – depending on the length of assignment. • Provide health insurance for all foreign national employees. • Comply with all Israel labour and immigration laws.
Document Reporting and Maintenance Requirements
The company must: • Maintain key documents on file to evidence that the correct visa was applied for and obtained. • Maintain a public access file at the company premises with details of the employment contract and all benefits, including accommodation, salary and health insurance details. • Track and Monitor key employment related data. • Report key changes to the company (e.g. change of address, Authorising Officer, trading/operations) to the Ministry of Interior. • Report key changes to the worker’s employment (e.g. change of role, hours, work location) mu to the Ministry of Interior.
Years of Service
There is no legal requirement in Israel for someone to be employed for a designated period prior to qualifying for a work permit. (As a practical matter a Foreign Expert will need to show prior employment to qualify as an expert).
The employer is responsible for ensuring that health insurance is purchased and maintained for all sponsored foreign national employees.
B1 Short Term Work (Short Employment Authorisation or SEA) Visa (Under 30 Days):
- This category may be used for a maximum of 30 days, calculated from the first date of entry into Israel in this status, and is not renewable. The visa is valid for a single entry only, regardless of the length of stay in Israel. If an additional entry is required (for a period up to the maximum 30 days permitted) a new application should be filed.
B1 Foreign Expert: - This category may be used for a maximum of 5 years and 3 months commencing with the first day of employment in Israel.
Translations and Notarizations
Any documents provided which are not in English or Hebrew must be translated and notarized by an Israeli notary or by the Israeli Consulate.
Several countries restrict entry and/or apply additional scrutiny if the foreign national is found to have visited Israel. Some foreign nationals may therefore wish to use a second passport if/when traveling to Israel or if possible, request the Israeli border agent not to place a stamp in their passport but rather to provide a separate form confirming the entry and exit from Israel.
Applications from nationals from countries listed as "Hostile States" by the Israeli government will be subject to additional security and screening procedures. The processing times for these visa applications may be protracted.
Criminal Issues And Prior Visa Violations
It is important to note that if the applicant has been charged or convicted of any criminal offense, has previously overstayed a visit to Israel or has violated the terms of a visa or work permit, this may impact the ability to proceed with the application. Additional information may be needed and processing times may be extended. In these cases, it is important to disclose the issues to and consult with immigration counsel on how best to proceed.
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- Red Flags – What to be aware of