Burdensome Changes Threaten Livelihood of Foreign Avrechim In Israel

Many foreigners reside in Israel as visa holders. These are most frequently students or kollel students who have not yet completed the Aliya process. While not citizens, they are recognized as legal residents and are entitled to many services offered by the State of Israel.

Spouses and children of student visa holders receive A-4 visas. Typically, these 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 a fairly simple process, detailed here by Chaim V’Chessed. This allows them to work legally in Israel.

Now, Chaim V’Chessed has learned that the Interior Ministry has seriously tightened the requirements for ‘Permission to Work’. Applicants will now be required to obtain an apostille on each of their original documents such as birth or marriage certificates. More onerously, applicants will need to present a recent police background check from their home country. This will cause considerable difficulty, as some states require in-person application for background checks, and the applicants are already in Israel. Furthermore, the background checks must be very recent. In the event that time has elapsed between the issuance of the document and the applicant’s visa appointment – a frequent occurrence due to long wait times at the Interior Ministry – the document will not be accepted.

Many avrechim subsist on their wife’s earnings. Numerous callers to Chaim V’Chessed have stated, ‘If my wife can’t work legally here, we won’t be able to live in Israel any longer!’

Chaim V‘Chessed CEO, Paysach Freedman raised the issue in a recent meeting with MK Yitzchak Pindrus. Pindrus responded vehemently, “It is outrageous that while the country is in the midst of fighting a war, the State of Israel decides, with no forewarning – to tighten the requirements for visa holders residing in Israel. Do they want to encourage foreigners to leave the country?” he asked rhetorically.

Chaim V’Chessed is in dialogue with senior Interior Ministry officials over this matter. We hope to successfully lobby for the requirements to remain unchanged.

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