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06Nov2017

Approval by a CPA when applying for a foreign experts’ Israeli work visa extension

  • By Adv. Dotan Cohen
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Section 3A (a) of the Entry into Israel Law – 1952 highlights specific requirements for submitting applications to extend Israeli work visas for foreign experts in Israel.

In order for the various companies in Israel to employ foreign experts, work permits (B/1) must be issued by the Work Permit Unit. The issuance of this permit must comply with the requirements stated by the law and the regulations.

The issuance of an Israeli work visa to a foreign expert involves two separate stages:

  1. The issuance of a work permit by the Work Permit Unit; And;
  2. The issuance of an Israeli work visa to the foreign expert by the Ministry of Interior, a visa which is usually valid for a period of one year.

The work permit can be extended for a total period of 5 years and 3 months (and in some exceptional cases, the permit may be extended for additional time beyond this period).

The application for the extension of the Israeli work permit of a foreign expert will be approved by the Work Permit Unit if the foreign worker continues to meet the criteria prescribed by the law and the regulations.

According to Section C.5. (a) of the regulations set out by the Ministry of Interior specific documents are required to be submitted with an application for the extension of the Israeli work visa of a foreign expert. These documents include, among others, an affidavit signed by an authorized representative of the employer company, a detailed explanation letter highlighting the need to employ the foreign expert in Israel, documents supporting the claims stated in the explanatory letter, a valid employment agreement with the foreign expert, and more.

Among the documents required for the submission of the application for the extension of the foreign expert’s Israeli work permit, both from an Israeli company and from a foreign company, are two accountant certifications, as follows:

  1. A certification by the Company’s auditor/accountant stating that the Company is an active company, and that the Company has no ongoing concern for the current year and for the year preceding the submission of the application.
  2. A certification by an Israeli accountant confirming that the all of the employed foreign experts salaries were fully paid by the company for the previous year.

Section C.5.a.(7) which specifies the manner in which an application for a work permit is submitted, states as follows:

“In applications for the extension of the Israeli work permit for the employment of foreign experts (as well as in the applications for the replacement or for the addition of such an expert by an employer who already employs foreign experts), the approval of an accountant is required confirming that the payment of the experts’ salaries were fully made regarding all of the foreign experts who were employed by the company, within the preceding year to the submission of the application, in accordance with a list of foreign experts to be attached to the application. ”

Although not specifically stated, the Work Permit Unit interprets this section to mean an Israeli accountant versus a foreign accountant. As far as the Israeli company is concerned, the Company will not encounter any difficulties in providing the certificates of the accountants as listed above to obtain the required extensions of foreign expert work permits, since the books and the business of the company are audited by an Israeli accountant. However, insofar as this relates to a foreign company, the Company will encounter difficulties in providing the CPA’s documentation, as noted above, since the Company’s auditor who generally reviews its books and who is familiar with the company’s activities in depth and can confirm that the required salary has been fully paid to the foreign expert in the past year will generally be a foreign accountant employed in the company’s country of origin.

This requirement is likely to cause delays in processing the applications for the extension of the Israeli work visas of foreign experts as far as a foreign company is concerned since the authorization will not be issued by the Work Permit Unit until the company submits the certification of an Israeli accountant. It should be noted that this requirement also demands additional time and resources on the part of the foreign company in order to find an Israeli accountant who will give the required certification. This creates a great deal of pressure for the foreign company in view of the fact that the extension of the Israeli work visa of the foreign expert is often required as soon as possible since the foreign expert is already in Israel and works in Israel, and will often have to cease working until the required visa extension is obtained.

It can be argued that the egalitarian demand for an Israeli accountant’s certification  in order to obtain the required work permit extension from both Israeli companies and foreign companies imposes an unreasonable burden on the part of the foreign company and there is room for changing the procedures to replace the demand from the foreign company to provide certification from an Israeli accountant and allow the certification to be issued by the foreign company’s regular accountant from the foreign company’s  country of origin who is familiar with the business of the company and audits its books.

 

All said and explained in this article does not constitute a legal opinion and does not replace legal advice. Responsibility for using the wordings and opinions conveyed in this article relies solely and entirely on the reader.

This article was written by Dotan Cohen Law Offices, working in the field of immigration law in the United States, Canada, Australia and England.

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