The new arrangements, as detailed below will apply to companies that are recognized as technological knowledge-intensive corporations by the Israel Innovation Authority.
The Innovation Authority published a procedure for the purpose of recognizing a corporation as a corporation with technological know-how that allows for the employment of foreign experts.
The following are the main points of the Innovation Authority's procedure which states that a company will be recognized as a high-tech company by the Innovation Authority in one or more of the following cases:
1. In the three years preceding the application, the employer received a grant from the Innovation Authority in one or more of the "benefit tracks" approved for this purpose.
2. In the three years preceding the application, the employer received approval for a tax benefit by virtue of tax legislation.
3. In the three years preceding the application, the employer was approved as a Research & Development company for the purpose of an issuance on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
4. In the five years preceding the application, the employer was approved as a corporation with research and development income for a foreign resident granted under the Capital Investments Law, 5719-1959.
5. In the three years prior to the application, the employer received approval from the Central Bureau of Statistics, connecting the applicant with one of the following industries:
5.1 Manufacture of conventional drugs and homeopathic medicines (industry branch no. 21);
5.2 Manufacturing of computers, electronic and optical equipment (industry branch no. 26);
5.3 Computer programming, computer consultation and other related services, except for a subset of other services in the field of information technology and computers (industry branch no.62);
5.4 Research and development, except for research and development in social sciences and humanities (industry branch no.72);
5.5 Production of aircraft, spacecraft and related equipment (industry branch no. 303);
5.6 Data processing, storage and related services; internet gateway sites (industry branch no. 631).
6. An employer who does not meet one of the alternatives under section 5.1 to 5.5 above may still be recognized as a high-tech company, subject to the approval of the Director General of the Innovation Authority which may be given as part of an appropriate application, and subject to the following cumulative conditions:
(1) The applicant is an Israeli corporation, registered in Israel, acting in accordance with Israeli law;
(2) The corporation is not a foreign company or a public benefit company;
(3) The applicant's R&D expenses exceeded 7% of its sales turnover in the calendar year preceding the submission of the application, or at least 15% of all the employees employed by the applicant are R&D employees.
An employer who has been recognized as a high-tech company by the Innovation Authority as aforesaid shall be entitled to submit the application for a foreign expert and indicate the appropriate track for him in one of the following beneficial arrangements:
The three arrangements that benefit high-tech companies:
1. Submission by expedited procedure for a period of up to one year
Under this arrangement the application is handled within 6 working days!
A high-tech company may submit an application according to the expedited procedure, for a work permit for a period of up to one year at a time, subject to the following documents:
A. An affidavit on behalf of the company that the expert has a valid passport of a country whose citizens are exempt from a B/2 pre-approved visa.
B. The company must make a commitment, among others, that the salary of the foreign expert is double the average wage in Israel.
C. The employment is required for research and development, or to assist in business activity related to the product or service developed by the company.
2. Employment of a foreign academic graduate
This type of application will be handled within 30 working days.
A high-tech company may submit an application to employ a foreign national who has completed a full academic degree in an institute of higher education in Israel in one of the following professions: electrical engineering, electronics, computers (including software engineering), information systems or computer science. The validity of the permit will be granted for a year and will not require paying the foreign academic graduate a salary of twice the average wage in the economy, subject to the following documents:
A. A form of undertaking of the high-tech employing company recognizing the academic graduate.
B. Approval by the Council for Higher Education that the foreign national is entitled to a degree in one of the subjects listed above, including the date of entitlement to the degree.
C. The validity of the permit will be granted for a period of up to 12 months from the date of entitlement to the degree.
No more than 500 permits will be issued at any one time for the employment of academic graduates. The quota shall be determined by the order of the submission of applications to the Population and Immigration Authority.
3. Permitting the employment of a foreign expert in a high-tech company for a period of more than 90 days, and granting a work permit for the spouse
This type of application will be handled within 21 working days.
An employer who has been recognized as a high-tech company may submit an application for the employment of a foreign expert for a period of more than 90 days in the R&D field or to employ a foreign expert who has unique expertise that assists with business activity related to the product or service developed by the company.
The spouse of a foreign expert whose employment has been approved as stated above will be entitled to receive a B/1 work permit. This will allow him/her to work for any employer in Israel without being required to obtain a work permit and all its accompanying requirements, subject to the following two stages:
A. Submission of a request by a high-tech company for a permit to employ a "foreign expert in high-tech" for more than 90 days.
B. Application for a B/1 (general) license for a child.
This is an experimental procedure valid for 12 months from the date of its publication.