Employing Foreign Workers In Israel

Author:Mr Richard Scharlat
Profession:Dentons (US)
 
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Immigration for non-citizens into Israel is governed by the Entry into Israel Law (1952).  Since the 1990's, hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers have come to Israel to be employed in various capacities as temporary workers. The regulation of employment of such workers is governed by the Foreign Workers Law (1991) (FWL) and Israeli employers in certain industries can employ these migrant, or "foreign," workers as part of their workforce. Under the FWL, a "foreign worker" is defined as a worker who is not an Israeli citizen or a resident of Israel. (FWL sec.1). According to the FWL, the Minister of the Interior may grant entry into Israel (by visa and visitor's residence permit) to a Foreign Worker who "is about to be admitted for work as a worker." Temporary residence for a Foreign Worker is initially capped at three months. The Minister of Interior has the power to extend such a visa for up to five years, provided that the visa is first extended for no more than two years, and then in one-year increments thereafter. 

Permits for employment of Foreign Workers can be issued for the following industries: (1) construction; (2) agriculture; (3) nursing care; (4) hotel work; (5) ethnic cooking; and (6) welding and industrial professions. Restrictions can be imposed on such permits by the Minister of Labor and the Minister of Industry—limiting the kind of labor allowed; setting compensation restrictions; and establishing requirements for an employer to track and register the worker's attendance record.

Foreign Workers in Israel are entitled to working conditions on par with citizen employees, which include private health insurance and housing (for migrant workers, provided by the employer). Foreign Workers are also entitled to a weekly rest period of 36 hours (typically over a weekend), and 14-21 days of paid vacation yearly. Following three months of working for one employer, a worker is also entitled to nine paid religious holidays—as set by the Jewish calendar or the employee's own religion, according to the employee's preference. Employers in Israel must provide most Foreign Workers with monthly wage slips and a copy of their employment contract, in a language the employee understands, which contains: the employee's name and name of the employer; a job description; the term of the employment period; compensation, pay dates and applicable deductions; working hours and rest days; paid vacations, holidays and sick days; and information...

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