Building Your Team

A thriving startup ecosystem with incredible talent is the prime reason companies choose to set up their business in Tel Aviv. To help you assemble the best team to tackle your next tech challenge, this chapter details key issues when relocating, recruiting and paying your team.

Visas and Immigration

When coming to work or establish a business in Israel there are several visa options to explore, depending on your situation and the needs of the hiring company.

Two types of visas enable their holders to work in Israel: a Residency Visa and an Expert Visa.

Residency Visa
The Residency Visa is granted to foreigners defined as Jews by the ‘Law of Return’ as well as to non-Jews whose lives are based in Israel: for example, people married to an Israeli citizen. Several visas in this category enable their holders to stay and work in Israel.

A1 Visa- is designated for a Jewish man or woman considering settling in Israel. The A.1 visa grants its holder and their close relatives (spouse, minor children), up to 3 years of residency, following the first time the visa is approved, including the right to work in the country.
A.2 visa- (foreign students’ visa) enables its holder to work at a part-time job in the country.
The A.5 visa -is given to people whose lives are based in Israel. In most cases, this visa is granted to people in the process of acquiring Israeli citizenship or permanent residency (usually as a result of marriage to an Israeli citizen). The visa is given for a single year and allows its holder to work in the country. Visa applicants must prove the center of their life is in Israel by submitting relevant documents (such as household bills, payrolls, National Insurance documentation and additional papers).


Professional Expert Visa
The request for this visa (long- or short-term) may be submitted by any company registered in Israel, or by a company outside of Israel with a local representative who has power of attorney.

Long-Term Work Visa
This work visa grants a work permit to foreign workers for up to 63 months. The visa can be granted according to two main criteria: either the visa applicant has specific expertise which is rare or does not exist in Israel, or the visa applicant’s wage is at least double the average Israeli wage at the time (one or both of these conditions must be met). Once the employee obtains the work visa, they will be considered a non-permanent worker and will be permitted to stay in Israel for up to 63 months.
Short-Term Work Visa
This work visa is valid for 45 days. It grants a work permit to an expert professional according to the following eligibility criteria:
1. The applicant is regarded as a foreign expert (according to the criteria listed previously).
2. The professional’s expertise is needed for a temporary task (such as consulting, inspection, equipment repair, etc.).
3. The professional has a passport from a country whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Israel.

*Improved Expert Visa Terms for Expert Professionals in High-Tech and Cyber
Companies
1. In addition to the long- and short-term expert visas, a new, experimental process for tech and cyber companies grants these companies improved visa terms. With these terms, companies will be eligible to apply for the following additional visas if they have received ‘high-tech company’ designation from the Israeli Innovation Authority:
2. Short-term work visa for an expert professional for 90 days (instead of 45);
3. One-year expert professional work visa via the short-term work visa procedure (with additional adjustments) and;
4. Work visas for foreign graduates, granted for up to one year.


*Innovation Visas for Foreign Entrepreneurs (Pilot Program)

The innovation visa allows entrepreneurs from around the world to develop an innovative technological project in Israel for up to two years. The program aims to attract entrepreneurs who will bring new knowledge and experience to Israeli industry and eventually contribute employment and innovation to the local economy.
The innovation visa is granted for 24 months, during which time the visiting entrepreneurs will be hosted at a landing pad – a supportive framework and introduction to the Israeli ecosystem. Should the project evolve into a company, the foreign entrepreneur can file a request for support from the Innovation Authority and an expert visa to work at the company.
One available landing pad is Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality’s ‘The Platform’ – an international accelerator for social-urban entrepreneurship. The Platform connects local residents, social and tech entrepreneurs, and NGOs to tackle social challenges and allow the implementation of innovative solutions in municipal projects. The Platform offers co-working spaces, workshops, and entrepreneurial courses for those who would like to contribute to the quality of life in Tel Aviv and develop local entrepreneurship.

Address: 6 HaGalil Street, Tel Aviv
To apply for the Innovation Visa through the Platform landing pad, please write to:
theplatform@mail.tel-aviv.gov.il

Becoming an Israeli Employer

When becoming an Israeli employer, one must be familiar with the legal regulations concerning the hiring process, employeremployee relations and Israeli workers’ social rights.

Employees and applicant notification law
This law aims to defend the applicant’s rights during the application process and imposes certain obligations on the recruiting company. Employers must notify candidates of updates to the recruitment process at least once every two months, and no later than two weeks after the position has been filled. If the hiring company employs less than 25 employees, or if the duration of the relevant position is less than 30 days, the employer is exempt from the above requirements.

The equal opportunity law
According to the Israeli Employment (Equal Opportunities) Law (1988) it is prohibited to discriminate against employees based on the following criteria: gender, race, place of residence, religion, age, pregnancy, nationality, country of origin; political views, reserve military duty and several other factors. This prohibition affects the hiring process (as well as terms of employment, promotions, training and termination of employment). In the context of the hiring process, the prohibition mentioned above mainly affects job ads and interviews, where no mention of these criteria may be made.

Work Hours
The Israeli workweek begins on Sunday and ends on Thursday with standard office hours ranging from 08:00 or 09:00 to 17:00 or 18:00. According to Israeli law, the number of regular work hours per week (not including overtime) should not exceed 42 hours.

Basic employee benefits
Israeli law requires employers to contribute a fixed portion of the employee’s salary to two major components – a pension fund and National Insurance. It is the employer’s responsibility to allocate these funds prior to transferring the employee’s salary.

Pension funds
The amount deposited each month to the pension fund consists of two components– a percentage of the employee’s salary (deducted directly by the employer) and a sum paid directly by the employer (calculated as a percentage of the employee’s salary, but at the employer’s expense). An additional component of pension insurance is “severance payment” – an additional sum, calculated as a percentage of the employee’s salary, deposited monthly by the employer to be paid in case the
employee is terminated.

National insurance
National Insurance funds are also made up of two components – a certain percentage is deducted from the employee’s salary while the other is paid by the employer. For a salary or part of a salary that is up to 60% of the average salary (6,164 NIS or approximately 1,751 USD) the employer is required to pay 3.45% of the salary. For the part of the wage that is over 60% of the average salary and below the maximum income subject to insurance fees (43,890 NIS or approximately 12,469 USD), the employer is required to pay 7.5% of the salary.

Sick leave
Employees are entitled to partial or full wages for missed work days due to sickness. For the first day of illness, employees are not entitled to any wages; for the second day and third day of sickness they are entitled to 50% of their pay, and they are entitled to full wages from the fourth day of illness onward. Periods of sickness to be deducted from the employee’s quota are calculated differently for salaried workers and wage workers. Workers are entitled to one and a half sick leave days for every month they work for the employer. The overall number of sick leave days cannot exceed 90 days.

Maternity and paternity leave
An employee who is pregnant or gave birth is entitled to maternity leave. Employers may not dismiss workers on maternity leave. The maternity leave’s length varies for partial or full maternity leaves. An employee who has accumulated more than 12 months of employment at the
same organization before maternity leave begins is entitled to full maternity leave. An employee is entitled to a total of 26 weeks’ leave, of which 7 weeks may be used before the estimated date of birth.
An employee who has not accumulated more than 12 months of employment at the same job before maternity leave begins is entitled only to partial maternity leave. In that case, the worker is entitled to a total of 15 weeks’ leave, of which 7 weeks may be taken before the estimated date of birth.
A male spouse can take paternity leave for part of his partner’s maternity leave (i.e. the duration of paternity leave granted depends on how many weeks remain of the mother’s leave). In any case, the combined maximum maternity leave for both parents is 26 weeks.

Reserve military duty
Employees may be required to perform reserve military duties during their period of employment. Reserve duty is obligatory for most men in Israel up to age 45. In addition to calling up reserve soldiers as reinforcements to the regular army in routine times (for qualification, training and operational employment), the IDF is also entitled to call up soldiers during emergencies or for urgent security needs.
Reserve military duty may not be subtracted from the employee’s annual leave, and an employer is required by law to allow employees to attend such duties and may not dismiss an employee as a result of reserve duty.

Additional employee benefits
Employees who commute to work are entitled to a travel allowance in addition to their basic salary. The maximum travel allowance per day is currently 22.60 NIS or approximately 6.45 USD.
Most employees in Israel who have worked for an employer for over a year are entitled to recuperation pay. Recuperation pay is calculated by the number of recuperation days the employee is entitled to, multiplied by the recuperation rate as determined by the Ministry of Economy: 378 NIS or 107 USD per day in the private sector.

Beta- Be in Tel Aviv- Relocation program to Israel
A one-year (or longer) relocation program for senior tech talent – engineers, researchers and designers. The program allows foreign tech talent to ‘beta test’ Israel for several months. The BETA program is facilitated by an alliance of Israeli tech companies seeking to attract talent to Tel Aviv. Applicants can apply to more than one company at a time and do not need to be Jewish or have an Israeli passport to apply (though the program is not open to applicants who have lived in Israel in
the past 3 years).
Companies that are part of the BETA will provide suitable applicants with a relocation package that includes:
• Streamlined work visa process
• Apartment-hunting assistance
• Housing for the first six weeks in Tel Aviv
• School and community matching assistance
• Hebrew tutor
• Help from an accountant familiar with international/Israeli tax law
• Up to $20,000 relocation bonus
• Yearly round-trip flight home
• Paid cell phone
For more information: betelaviv.com

Back to tech program
The Back to Tech program, run by the Israeli Innovation Authority, connects
employers in Israel with Israelis returning from abroad who are interested in
entering the high-tech industry. This can be useful for employers seeking highlyskilled
Israeli experts with international work experience. Employers registered with
the program can receive information from the Innovation Authority about potential
returning employees.
To register: innovationisrael.org.il/en/program/back-tech-program