ISRAEL - New Work Visa Processing Options for Employees of High-Tech Companies
The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) in Israel published new regulations, effective immediately, that offer new work visa processing options for employees of high-tech companies as well as for the spouses of these employees. The regulations apply only to high-tech companies as defined by the Israel Innovation Authority. The new regulations introduce an expedited work visa, the so-called High-Tech Visa (or “HIT Visa”), and an option for high-tech employers to apply for Spousal Work Authorization (“EAS Visa”) for spouses of their employees.
The HIT Visa is initially valid for 1 year and can be extended for up to 5 years and 3 months. The key advantage is that the processing times for HIT Visas are approximately 6 working days and that no consular processing at an Israeli Mission abroad is required (as soon as the work permit is issued, the employee may travel to Israel and complete the visa processing at the MOI within 2 days after arrival in Israel). As a comparison, the lead times for a B-1 work visa, which requires consular processing abroad, are about 10-16 weeks. While the HIT visa process requires less documents and is expedited, important caveats exist.
First, not all employees of high-tech companies are eligible to apply for HIT Visas as the visa category is limited to citizens of countries who do not require a pre-visa to enter Israel (so called visa waiver nationals). Second, the prevailing wage of double the average salary in Israel (currently NIS 19,604 per month) must still be met.
The new regulations also allow high-tech companies to apply for EAS B-1 work visas for the spouses of HIT visa applicants who intend to work in Israel for more than 90 days. EAS Visas are open work permits that allow spouses to work for any employer in Israel.
TSM is closely monitoring this situation and will provide additional details as soon as they are confirmed by the authorities in Israel. This news alert was prepared together with our partner firm in Israel. If you have any further questions regarding this alert or would like to know more about TSM’s immigration services, please contact our EMEA Team at email@example.com.