Israel is a culturally diverse country and also a deeply traditional one. However, Israel’s society is quite westernized, and a number of expats from different parts of the world live and work here. The population of over 7 million consists mainly of Jewish people, while the rest are mostly Arabs. The expat population tends to be concentrated in the bigger cities, the main ones being the religiously significant capital city of Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv, which serves as the commercial and cultural hub of the country.Haifa in the northern part of Israel and Beersheba in the south are also home to many expats due to the employment opportunities there.
Most expats move to Israel due to intra-company transfers or on international assignments. The job market within the country is competitive due to a motivated and skilled workforce. Most of the jobs are given to locals and non-nationals who are already living in the country. Without at least a university degree, foreigners may find it hard to get a job easily. Among the foreigners who work in Israel, many are employed in the fields of medicine, law, education and technology. Marketing jobs are also popular among expats, and here knowledge of additional languages becomes an important skill. When positions become available in Israeli companies, it is usually spread through word-of-mouth since the business community maintains an informal atmosphere. This may be a challenge for expat applicants who are conducting their job search from their home countries.
Searching for a job
Expats looking for a job in Israel may find vacancies advertised on online job portals such as Israemploy, IsraelJobs, or Jobs-Israel. The web version of the Jerusalem Post also features jobs in the classifieds section. Sites such as BioTechJobs are helpful for those searching in specific fields. A more effective strategy is to narrow down the Israeli companies functioning in your field of interest and do a little research on each of them, before contacting them directly. Expats can also look for freelancing opportunities at Israeli companies as a way to start networking and building a client base. Expats who are moving to the country as Jewish immigrants can apply for job placements at an aliyah organization.
Applying for a job
Since the professional and business world in Israel is close-knit, the job application process takes on a more informal character. In many cases, you are not required to send all your certificates and references. Just an updated resume and a cover letter may suffice. But for certain positions, such as in the field of medicine, it is essential to provide proof of your professional licenses. Some knowledge of Hebrew is seen as an advantage in Israel’s job market, even though English is widely spoken. Foreign companies in Israel may prefer those who are fluent in English. This is especially the case in technology and electronics companies.
Visas and work permits
Those who intend to work in the country require an Israeli work permit. This applies to all foreign nationals, except for those making aliyah to Israel, as this is considered as ‘returning to the homeland’. A work visa can be obtained either from a prospective employer or through one’s spouse. Those with specific skills that are in demand in Israel’s job market will find it easier to obtain a work permit. Those who get a visa through an employer need to be aware that they will be bound to that company. Therefore if their employment is terminated, they will be without a visa and will then need to apply for a temporary visa. The visa application process in Israel tends to be slow and can take up to six months. The alternative route to obtaining a work permit is through a spouse. With this type of visa, one can work in any industry and company.
There is a shortage of English teachers in Israel, and many expats are able to find work as English teachers. Certification is necessary for these jobs. Teaching certificates such as TEFL and TESOL are accepted in Israel. The Teach and Study Program offered in Tel Aviv enables individuals to gain teaching experience while studying for a Master’s degree.
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