We would like to bring to your attention a new experimental program pursuant to which work permits will be made available to foreign entrepreneurs (the "Program"), which was published under Executive Order No. 8.28 issued by the Ministry of Economy, in coordination with the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority (the "Authority").
The Program is a pilot program for a period of three years and will allow foreign entrepreneurs to develop new ideas in Israel; ideas which will assist in the growth of the economy and improvement of Israel's perception in the world. According to the Program, the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy (the "OCS") will provide the Authority with a recommendation to issue an “Innovation Visa” to the relevant entrepreneurs, which will be valid for a period of 24 months and will allow the relevant entrepreneurs to develop new technological initiatives in Israel during the relevant period. Thereafter, the entrepreneur will be eligible to apply for a work visa.
According to the Program, the OCS will publish an announcement, in which it will call for companies to apply for recognition as a sponsoring entity. Since this is an experimental Program, only the first fifteen applications by relevant companies, which will be submitted by a date to be published on the website, will be processed, on a “first come first serve” basis. A startup committee will then examine whether the applying entities meet the threshold requirements for recognition as a sponsoring entity, and will thereafter examine the applying entities, considering criteria such as ”cross-pollination”, physical and technological infrastructure, professional support and added value. Finally, the startup committee will be entitled to approve up to twelve sponsoring entities.
A foreign technological entrepreneur who wishes to apply for recommendation to be granted the 24 month "Innovation Visa" will be required to submit a request to the OCS, in accordance with the terms of the Program. The application should detail the sponsoring entity to which he/she intends to be accepted for the purpose of developing the technological idea, and a declaration regarding the sources of funding for his/her living expenses during the period of his/her stay in Israel.
A foreign technological entrepreneur who wishes to remain in Israel following the expiration of the "Innovation Visa" will be required to: (i) establish an entity in Israel for the purpose of developing a technological initiative in Israel; and (ii) submit a request in the name of the entity to one of the programs operated by the OCS; if the relevant committee approves the entrepreneur's request, he/she will receive the approval together with a recommendation by the OCS for approval of the entrepreneur’s application for an “expert” category work permit.
The Authority has the sole authority to handle, approve and grant “Innovation Visas” and “expert” category work permits, as well as to extend their validity and perform any other act in relation thereto.