We wish to call to your attention to a new procedure which consolidates the various directives regarding permits and visas for the employment of foreign experts in Israel published on December 13, 2015.
Israel Population and Immigration Authority Procedure 5.3.0041 (the “New Procedure”) sets out stricter criteria relating to the classification of foreign experts including but not limited to increased scrutiny of salary and wage requirements, revised application procedures and additional documentary requirements for foreign experts, and changes to the process for accompanying family members of foreign experts as follows:
Base Salary Of Foreign Experts
The New Procedure establishes that the base salary of a foreign expert must not fall below twice the average salary in the labor market for a salaried employee, other than in extraordinary cases. In accordance with the New Procedure, the base salary shall not include payments for overtime hours or shifts. Moreover, payments for housing and other associated payments shall not be calculated as part of the base salary.
Workers in Fields Which Do Not Require Attainment of an Academic Degree
The New Procedure distinguishes between foreign experts working in fields which require academic degrees as a minimum entry requirement, and foreign experts working in fields which do not require academic degrees. It is yet unclear whether this distinction applies to foreign experts who do not hold academic degrees or to foreign experts working in areas which by definition do not require the attainment of an academic degree (Ex: construction work performed by foreign experts who are artists by profession). In light of the explanation set out in the relevant affidavit, we believe that the intent of the procedure relates to foreign experts working in fields which do not require the attainment of an academic degree such as welders, floorers, carpenters and ethnic chefs. In this regard, we intend to approach the Head of the Population and Immigration Authority for further clarification with regard to this and other matters included in the New Procedure.
With respect to applications for foreign experts in fields which do not require attainment of an academic degree, the Foreign Workers Unit of the Population and Immigration Authority (the “Foreign Workers Unit”) is permitted to demand, inter alia, deposit of a bond to ensure payment of the foreign expert’s salary; various documentation ensuring that the foreign expert did not pay an agent for the purposes of entering Israel; an attorney confirmation that the employment agreement is an accordance with Israeli labor law, as well as additional documentation given the need.
Submission of the application is contingent upon the employer’s obligation to deposit the foreign expert’s salary into a bank account in Israel in which no third party other than the foreign expert or his/her authorized representative has authority to conduct transactions. The employer will further be obligated to maintain on a permanent basis, all bank confirmations evidencing deposits made for salary payments. Given the need, the employer may be requested to present the bank confirmations as evidence of such deposits.
Changes Regarding Required Documentation For Work Permit Applications
In accordance with the New Procedure, there have been a number of changes with regard to the required documentation which must be submitted to the Foreign Workers Unit within the scope of a work permit application.
The relevant affidavit. There have been changes to the text of all required affidavits such that each affidavit must pertain to the specific employee for whom the application is being submitted.
- In cases where the sponsor is a foreign corporation without a corporate presence in Israel, the employer must attach a power of attorney executed and signed at an Israeli consulate abroad authorizing an Israeli agent to submit and handle all aspects of the application on behalf of the foreign employer.
- Employers submitting applications for foreign experts in fields which do not require attainment of an academic degree are required to attach confirmations evidencing lawful employment.
- Every application submitted by an employer who already employs foreign experts must attach an accountant’s confirmation for each individual worker which confirms payment of the proffered wages during the past year for all foreign experts employed by such employer. The Foreign Worker’s Unit is permitted to allow employers to submit one confirmation for a number of applications submitted within a consecutive 6 month period.
- In cases of work permit extension requests for foreign experts in fields which do not require attainment of an academic degree, the employer must attach copies of pay stubs and confirmations of deposit to an Israeli bank account in the foreign expert’s name, in addition to a confirmation from the bank that no one other than the foreign expert or his/her authorized representative has conducted transactions within the account.
Changes Regarding the Process For Obtaining Work Visas
Following approval of a work permit for the employment of a foreign expert, the employer is required to approach the local office of the Population and Immigration Authority in accordance with the details listed on the permit in order to secure the work visa. During this stage, applications for dependent immediate family members including citizens of visa waiver countries are submitted for the purpose of authorizing their admission to Israel.
Admission to Israel of dependent family members of foreign experts working in fields which do not require attainment of academic degrees will not be automatic, and will be subject to the discretion of a Population and Immigration Authority officer. Original, certified documentation of the familial relationship must be submitted at this time.
In the event that the permit is approved, the employee will be required to approach the relevant Israeli consulate where consular notification was requested, and present the following documentation:
- An original police clearance certificate issued within the last year.
- A medical examination performed at a medical institution recognized by the Israeli consulate within the 3 months preceding submission of the application.