New program allows B-1 spouses to work

1 Aug 16

ISRAEL

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? A new program will allow spouses of B-1 foreign experts to obtain Israeli work authorization as dependents.

What does the change mean? Under a one-year pilot program, legally married spouses of B-1 experts will be eligible to work freely without needing to be sponsored by a specific employer.

  • Implementation time frame: The program has been approved by the Israeli government but has not been implemented. Official regulations are expected to be released, and implementation is expected in 30 days.
  • Visas/permits affected: B-1 dependent visas and employment authorization documents.
  • Who is affected: Legally married spouses of B-1 foreign experts.
  • Impact on processing times: Spouses of B-1 visa holders may work immediately upon obtaining an employment authorization document based on their dependent status, rather than needing to apply for their own work visa.
  • Business impact: The new program is intended to make Israel more attractive to foreign skilled workers, particularly tech workers, and their families.
  • Next steps: Regulations must be published before the program will be implemented. The regulations are expected to clarify details such as whether same-sex spouses qualify.

Background: Israel’s cabinet ministers approved the one-year pilot program Sunday.

Spouses of B-1 experts will be eligible to apply for dependent visas and employment authorization documents (whose duration will match the B-1 employee’s visa, which is valid for one year initially and renewable every year for a total of five years and three -months). A spouse’s employment authorization document allows free access to the Israeli labor market, including full-time, part-time, in-office and remote employment, subject to the minimum gross monthly wage of  4,650 shekels (about US$1,220) for full-time work.

BAL Analysis: The program provides a significant benefit to B-1 workers and family members who qualify under the criteria. BAL is following this development and will report as implementation details become available.

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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