New rules limit options for foreigners holding 30-day work authorization

30 Oct 14

ISRAEL

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Regulations to be released soon will set new restrictions on 30-day work authorization.

What does the change mean? According to the Ministry of Interior, the new regulations will prohibit foreigners holding a 30-day work authorization (also called SEA status) from applying for a standard one-year work permit (B-1 visa).

  • Implementation timeframe: For new applications, this policy has been implemented. However, the regulations have not been published by the government.
  • Visas/permits affected: SEA status (B-2 visitor visa) and B-1 visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals on short-term and long term assignments in Israel.
  • Impact on processing times: Under the regulations, foreign nationals must apply for a new work permit for each entry on SEA status, requiring more processing for each visit.
  • Business impact: The new rule will take away the flexibility of the 30-day work authorization and require businesses to better plan their short-term work assignments, especially if the assignment may extend beyond 30 days or there is a foreseeable need for a one-year visa within 12 months.
  • Next steps: The ministry is expected to publicly issue the regulations in the near future, detailing the new rules.

Background: The new regulations are expected to clarify that foreigners holding SEA status must apply for a new permit for each entry into Israel and that the total duration of stay cannot exceed 30 days within a 12-month period. Additionally, under the new rules, a foreigner cannot apply for a B-1 work visa in the 12 months following the last visit with SEA status.

The new rules are in effect for new applications, not for those holding SEA status with a pending B-1 application.

SEA status is a work authorization endorsement to a B-2 visitor visa. The duration of a visitor’s SEA status is registered in the Ministry of Interior’s system before the foreign national enters Israel.

BAL Analysis: The new rules will make it harder to convert from a 30-day SEA to a B-1 work visa without lengthy interruptions. Therefore, foreign assignees may opt to apply for a B-1 visa instead of SEA status if their work is likely to last more than 30 days within a 12-month period.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Israel. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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