The government on Tuesday announced a new plan to fill job vacancies in Israel's high-tech sector by allowing foreign students studying in the country to apply for work visas.
The outline, promoted by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash Hacohen, will also allow foreign professionals to be granted visas to integrate into the country.
The Israel Innovation Authority, a support arm for the Israeli government charged with fostering industrial research and development (R&D), will appoint an employment chief to employ different programs to help tech companies fill new job vacancies.
One program will grant foreign experts work visas provided they meet certain criteria while another will allow Jewish tech workers who wish to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return to spend a trial period in the country before fully immigrating.
The Law of Return gives Jews and their relatives the right to come and live in Israel, granting them automatic citizenship.
A third option will allow foreign tech students studying in Israel to apply for three-year work visas, mainly geared for roughly 1,000 students from India currently studying in technological fields in the country. However, no more than 500 work visas will be issued concurrently, according to the plan.
"There is a national need to strengthen the tech sector, which is the main engine of the Israeli economy today,” Shaked said, as quoted by Globes.
“Instead of companies opening development centers abroad, it is preferable to import workers to Israel, and that Jews with rights under the Law of Return will also remain here."
Orit Farkash Hacohen is also working with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman on a plan for tax incentives for tech workers.
As of 2020, Israel's tech sector was employing 335,000 people.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.