ISRAEL – Upcoming Program to Attract Hi-Tech Workers
On 15 January 2017, the Israeli government announced that a new, expedited process will be launched in 2017 to allow technology companies to obtain “Hi-Tech” status, with benefits for employers and employees.
It is thought that this program may be implemented in the first and early second quarter of 2017. Other planned changes to the immigration system have also been announced.
Benefits for “Hi-Tech” Companies
- It is expected that “hi-tech employers” will be waived from the requirements of ensuring adequate housing, providing a written contract and obtaining documents at the employer’s work site.
- Initial recognition of eligibility for “Hi-Tech status will be made within three weeks of submission.
Benefits for Employees of “Hi-Tech” Companies
- Spouses of “hi-tech” employees will be allowed to work in Israel.
- It is expected that the Ministry of Interior will provide a full waiver from the need to have medical checks prior to consular processing.
Additional Planned Changes to the Immigration System
- A prevailing wage of double the average salary will be imposed on the STEP (45-90 days) work visa.
- An online system is expected to be implemented to allow submission and tracking of applications for work permits and visas.
- Expected publication of detailed Hebrew and English regulations, outlining the work visa process, including time lines for each stage.
- The regulations regarding research at academic institutions, will be valid for research in the private sector, for projects that are part of a funded European Union Program.
- Stay tuned for further updates on these planned changes as more details are announced by the Israeli government.