Israel has a flourishing tech industry, but the Population and Immigration Authority doesn’t have enough officials to process visa applications. In February 2015, the Israeli government announced that it is going to start a new visa, called the expert visa, which would allow Israeli companies to hire non-Israeli foreign workers.
Zari Hazan, an immigration attorney from Israel, said that the ministry needs to increase the number of people for handling visa applications. The ministry only has one manager to take off all applications. Even though Hazan could benefit and ask his clients to pay him more for getting their visas early, it doesn’t make sense. It isn’t good enough to declare that Israel has started a high tech visa when they haven’t increased professionals in the field. The visa allows people to work in Israel as experts for 12 months. In January, the Israeli government announced of a work e-visa that gives approval in a couple of weeks compared to six weeks that the other visa takes.
People who are eligible for the visa need to be earning at least $5,700 monthly. The visa lasts for up to 63 months and even gives spouses of visa holders a visa as well. Even a computer science international student is also eligible for the visa if he gets a job. It isn’t compulsory for these recent graduates to meet the money criteria.
Pushing the government
Hi-tech worker advocates feel that there isn’t a backlog and companies should force the government to get them the required visas. Eran Shir, CEO, and co-founder, Nexar, said that it is easier to get a visa in Israel than it is in the US because of Trump’s rules.
In 2015, 3,000 received the expert visa, but operations slowed down after 2016 and 2017 were the worst. Hazan said that there is still opposition from people since they want only Israelis to have the job just like the US, the UK, and Germany.