Ministers approve bill to ease immigrant doctors’ credentials

French medical professionals have had a particularly difficult time practicing in Israel, because of a different system of higher education and certification than the system in Israel.

November 28, 2016 18:16
1 minute read.
doctors oversee patient

Doctors oversee patient. (photo credit: DANI MACHLIS/BGU)


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A proposal giving immigrants a second chance to convert their medical certifications to be allowed to practice in Israel was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Monday.

The bill by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) creates a system by which immigrants whose request to convert their credentials is rejected can appeal the decision.

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Forer said many immigrant medical professionals who arrive in Israel and are unable to practice leave the country, and others are discouraged from immigrating in the first place due to difficulties others experienced in getting their credentials recognized.

French medical professionals have had a particularly difficult time practicing in Israel because of a different system of higher education and certification than the system in Israel, the US and UK, among other countries.

The conversions are under the authority of the Health Ministry director-general, who authorized the director of the medical licensing department to oversee recognizing degrees from abroad, the need for tests, practical experience and other related standards.

However, the law currently does not allow for any oversight or appeals of the decisions, except for a lawsuit.

Forer’s bill, which must pass votes in the Knesset before being implemented, would create an appeals system in the Health Ministry.

“The lack of a way to appeal the director’s decisions and the need to go to court dramatically weakens the ability to fix mistakes made,” Forer said. “Creating an appeals system will make it easier to deal with mistaken decisions and give those who seek licenses an address to turn to with their complaints, rather than an expensive and long legal proceeding.”

It makes sense to allow a French doctor to practice medicine in Israel as well, he said.

“A doctor that can treat patients in Paris can treat patients in Jerusalem,” Forer said. “When foreign doctors come to practice on a tourist visa, they’re allowed. But if they make aliya, they find themselves having to go through different committees.”

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