Breakthrough for Visa Holders Seeking Permission to Work in Israel

Last month, Chaim V’Chessed reported on burdensome new changes in the process for visa holders to obtain permission to work legally in Israel.  Visa holders are most commonly students or kollel members who have not yet completed the Aliyah process, and their family members.

Typically, student visas state ‘Not permitted to work’. However, visa holders who wish to support their families have always been allowed to apply for ‘Permission to Work’. In recent months, the criteria for this status were greatly tightened, making it difficult or sometimes impossible for applicants to receive the coveted status. As many visa holders rely on their local income to subsist, this posed a serious difficulty for many families to remain in Israel.

After Chaim V’Chessed raised the issue, much dialogue on the matter took place between politicians and officials, in an effort to ease the process. In recent days, Chaim V’Chessed representatives held several meetings at the Interior Ministry with Erez Melamed, manager of the Population Authority’s Jerusalem district, and Ahmad Jabari, manager of the Jerusalem Visa Department.

These productive talks have produced welcome results, and we are pleased to share the new requirements for Permission to Work.

First- time applicants for Permission to Work must present:

  1. Birth certificate
  2. Marriage certificate (if relevant)
  3. If the student is the applicant: Letter from yeshiva stating that the student is permitted to work outside of study hours (dated in the past 3 months)
  4. Original letter from a recognized Rabbi abroad attesting that the applicant is Jewish
  5. Criminal background check (dated in the past 6 months)

In a significant leniency, the documents will no longer need to bear an apostille.

Chaim V’Chessed representatives appraised Ministry officials of the difficulties posed to visa holders who have already been granted Permission to Work but whose visas are expiring. These applicants are often already employed, and their continued employment could be jeopardized if they do not renew their Permission to Work status.  In a significant gesture, for the next several months, the Interior Ministry has agreed to grant these persons a six month extension, even if they do not yet have the required documents.

Paysach Freedman, CEO of Chaim V’Chessed stated, “We are most appreciative of the Ministry’s efforts to ease the process so visa holders can work legally while in Israel.” Freedman added that Chaim V’Chessed will continue to advocate for improvements and streamlining of various processes, for the betterment of the community.

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