Bill to ease conditions for immigrant dentists, medical professionals heads to final vote

Dentists who have been working for at least 5 years would be exempt from taking a test; Certified occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists and dietitians will be able to practice.

January 11, 2016 17:59
1 minute read.
Nurse writing prescriptions

Nurse writing prescriptions (illustrative).. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Experienced dentists who move to Israel will no longer be required to take an exam before practicing here, according to legislation a joint session of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health and Immigration, Absorption and Disapora Committees approved Monday for a second and third (final) reading.

Problems with converting professional credentials, whether because of a low level of Hebrew or a differently structured academic system, are a major obstacle the recent influx of French immigrants have faced when arriving in Israel, though the problem exists for immigrants from other countries, as well.

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The policies will be immediately implemented after they pass in a final vote.

Dentists who have been working for at least five years will be exempt from taking a test.

In addition, certified occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists and dietitians will be able to practice in Israel, even without an academic degree, as long as they are from a country, like France, in which those are professions do not require academic degrees as they are in Israel.

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said, however, he will not allow them to be exempt from taking a test in Israel.

Professional exams will be available in additional languages, including Russian, French and Spanish, and the Health Ministry will have the authority to exempt people from an internship period if they worked in their profession for more than a year.

The exemptions will not apply to anyone who lived in Israel and went abroad to study, nor to people who studied in Israel.

“This is a historic moment,” Labor, Welfare and Health committee chairman Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) said. “These laws are not enough. We will work on all health professions, in order to help absorb immigrants and reduce bureaucracy.”

Immigration, Absorption and Disapora committee chairman Avraham Neguise (Likud) said he hopes the bill will lower the number of people who give up on making a living in Israel and leave.

“They just want to build their home in Israel,” he said.

Immigration Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin expressed certainty that the change will help immigrants while keeping a high standard of medicine in Israel.

In the past three years, 1,594 doctors and other medical professionals have moved to Israel, mostly from Russia, Ukraine, the US and France.

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