ISRAEL – SEA (45-Day Work Travel) and 2017 Government Fees, Minimum Salary and Pensions Update
Waiting Period Between SEA (45-Day Work Travel) Applications
The Ministry of Interior has clarified the waiting period after SEA visa expiration until a new SEA application can be submitted as follows:
- A company can apply for a new SEA 45-day visa at the beginning of a calendar year regardless of the expiry date of the assignee's visa from the previous year.
For example: an assignee who had a work visa which expired late December 2016 may apply for a new SEA 45-day visa for the period starting 1 January 2017.
- If an SEA visa begins in the previous calendar year and continues into the next year, it is now possible to apply for the remainder of the 45-day period starting from 1 January.
For example: If the visa was valid from 15 December 2016 until 30 January 2017, it is now possible to apply in January 2017 for up to another 15 days, for a total of 45 days in 2017.
- A company can apply for an SEA visa at the beginning of the next calendar year after a long-term B-1 work visa has expired.
For example: A B-1 one-year work visa expired in late December 2016: It is now possible to apply for an SEA visa at the beginning of 2017.
- Any productive work to be done in Israel (including, but not limited to: hands on tools, hands on job, installation work, providing active guidance, inspections, management of work, repair work, supervision or consultancy etc.), regardless of the length of stay or location of the payroll, require a work visa prior to entry.
- The SEA program allows for work activities in Israel for up to 45 days total in a calendar year, with expedited work permit approval.
- The SEA permit applies only to visa waiver nationals. Individuals who are required to obtain visitor visas at the Israeli consulate prior to entry cannot apply for work authorisation under the SEA programme.
2017 Government Fees, Minimum Salary and Pensions Payments
The Israeli minimum salary was increased to 5000 NIS from 4825 NIS effective 1 January 2017. Employees working under an SEA or STEP visa must receive a gross monthly salary of at least 5000 NIS. During January 2017, the National Insurance Institute of Israel will publish an updated average salary. The prevailing wage for a one-year B-1 work visa is double the average salary.
The Israeli government has increased the minimum mandatory payments for pensions effective January 2017: Employee payments will be 6%, compared to 5.75% in 2016, and employer payments will be 6.5% instead of 6.25% in 2016.
The Ministry of Interior has published updated, slightly reduced government fees for 2017. Government fees effective 1 January 2017 for a B-1 work visa valid for more than six months will be 9655 NIS (not including submission fees to the Working Permit Unit).
- Note the new fees, minimum salary and pension requirements, and the clarification of the waiting period between SEA (45-day work visa) applications.