Recognition of French immigrants’ paramedical degrees passes final vote

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February 2, 2016 20:13
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Paramedical professionals who were certified in a country where their job does not require an academic degree can convert their qualifications in Israel without having to go back to school, after the Knesset passed a law to that effect in a second and third (final) reading Tuesday.

Certified occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, dietitians and other paramedical professionals who moved to Israel in the recent years’ wave of immigration from France found that they were not allowed to practice in Israel, where an academic degree is required for those jobs.

According to the new law, for the next six years, immigrants from any country in which this discrepancy exists will be able to get authorization to work in their profession from the Health Ministry, as long as they meet all criteria other than an academic degree. The Health Ministry may withhold Israeli certification until after a six-month trial period, in which the immigrant proved his or her knowledge and experience. All decisions related to converting certificates must be presented to the immigrant in writing.

After six years, the Health Ministry may extend the law for up to two more three-year periods, before having to re-legislate the policy.

The law will not apply to people who lived most of their lives in Israel and went abroad to study.

Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee chairman Eli Elalouf (Kulanu) said the law “will allow immigrants and Israeli citizens to return home.

“We stuck to academic degrees as if they are a force majeure, but they aren’t,” he added.

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