Israel to issue ‘start-up visas’ for foreign entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs who obtain the two-year visas will be able to develop new technological enterprises in Israel and their visas will be extended if they decide to establish start-up companies in Israel.

By
October 23, 2015 01:05
2 minute read.
Nefesh B Nefesh

Starting Your Own Business in Israel 758. (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

If you’re planning on creating the next Waze, the next Trusteer, or the next XtremIO, the government doesn’t care if you’re Jewish, Israeli or have even visited the Holy Land. It wants you to set up shop right here.

The Economy Ministry on Thursday announced plans to issue “innovation visas” for foreign entrepreneurs to come work in Israel. Entrepreneurs who obtain the two-year visas “will be able to develop new technological enterprises in Israel and their visas will be extended if they decide to establish start-up companies in Israel,” according to the ministry.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“Israel is known in the world as a center of innovation and development and we must retain this position. The innovation visa will enable foreign entrepreneurs from all over the world to develop new ideas in Israel and this will help the local market grow and improve our standing in the world,” said Economy Minister Arye Deri.

Though the final details have not been established, entrepreneurs who come to Israel through the program will participate in a framework provided by the ministry’s Office of the Chief Scientist – soon to be the National Authority for Technological Innovation – that will include “workspace, physical and technological infrastructure, professional support.”

They will also have the opportunity to apply for further “expert visas,” which will make them eligible for some Office of the Chief Scientist support grants and programs.

“We believe this program will receive responses from entrepreneurs who will be able to develop their ideas and establish unique start-ups through it,” said Chief Scientist Avi Hasson. “I have no doubt that the entrepreneurs who will come to the country through the program will then become ambassadors of goodwill for Israel around the world.”

Yet the visa program may fall short in addressing some of the challenges Israel faces due to limitations on its immigration policy. Because Israel is concerned with demographic issues, it has little access to foreign talent.



In a speech to the Israel Advanced Technology Industries nonprofit umbrella organization this week, Microsoft Israel R&D Center general manager Yoram Yaacovi warned that Israel was “running out of geeks.” One reason why it was running low on high-skilled engineers was that, unlike other advanced countries, it cannot “import” them. The well-educated olim who flooded Israel from former Soviet states in the 1990s and helped thicken the ranks of scientists and engineers is beginning to phase out of the workforce.

For non-Jewish foreign workers, entrepreneurs and engineers, work visas are hard to come by, and almost impossible to extend past a five-year limit. The prospect of permanent residence is a near impossibility, meaning that high-skilled foreigners know they will eventually have to leave, just like guest workers who come for jobs in construction, agriculture and elder care.

Would-be entrepreneurs can already apply for B-1 work visas, though the process is lengthy and they would not receive the same level of support and infrastructure offered by the new “innovation visas.”

Related Content

Workers strike outside of the Teva building in Jerusalem, December 2017
December 18, 2017
Workers make explosive threats as massive Teva layoff strikes continue

By MAX SCHINDLER