Reform to ease accreditation of immigrant professionals

New immigrants will be able to submit their credentials online prior to their arrival in Israel and special efforts will be made to cooperate with medical schools abroad.

A new ad campaign by the Israeli government urges young Jews to make aliya. (photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
A new ad campaign by the Israeli government urges young Jews to make aliya.
(photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
A new initiative seeks to reform the byzantine bureaucracy involved in integrating accredited members of white collar professions into the labor market.
The cabinet approved the joint initiative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver during its weekly meeting on Sunday. The reform will overhaul the system in several ways, including the creation of a center to which immigrants can turn for information regarding the conversion of their professional credentials.
Doctors, physiotherapists, architects and other professionals will have easier transitions to Israeli society, the government announced.
Immigrants will be able to submit their credentials online before they arrive and special efforts will be made to cooperate with medical schools abroad, especially in France, in order to grant recognition to their degrees.
Licensing requirements will be eased for dentists with at least 14 years’ experience abroad, and a retraining program for speech therapists from the former Soviet Union is to be established, the government announced.
Professionals such as engineers and architects can expect to be presented with “clearly defined and measurable criteria and procedure for recognition,” while an appeals process for those whose recognition is rejected will be put in place.
Immigrant teachers will face lowered barriers, as will those applying for civil service positions.
The reform is a way to encourage immigration and “a strategic tool to advance the Israeli economy and society,” Netanyahu said, asserting that the government’s actions would ultimately attract tens of thousands of additional immigrants annually.
The steps outlined in the plan are part of “a pattern of activity that focus on improving the link between new immigrants and the Immigration and Absorption Ministry’s efforts to meet their needs,” Landver said.
Voices from the private sector have previously made public calls to ease the transition of trained professionals.
In a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post, French-Israeli businessman Edouard Cukierman said that as European immigration to Israel steadily rises and public figures such as Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky issue statements predicting the “beginning of the end of Jewish history in Europe,” Israel has an important opportunity to attract an educated and professional class that would be a boon to the economy.
Cukierman, the chairman of the Tel Aviv-based investment house Cukierman & Co. and the founder of Catalyst Funds, is the son of Roger Cukierman, the president of the French communal umbrella organization CRIF.
According to Edouard Cukierman, European immigrants with high levels of academic and technical training could serve as an economic catalyst, in a situation similar to the boom experienced with the arrival of massive waves of post-Soviet immigration from Eastern Europe.
Pilot efforts along these lines have already been made, with the Health Ministry sending a representative to oversee accreditation tests for dental students in the United States earlier this year.
“At this precise time, as the numbers of new immigrants reach new peaks, it is essential to remove bureaucratic obstacles that impede their professional integration. The recognition of professional diplomas and degrees by Israeli authorities will allow new immigrants to start exercising their professions from day one, and that is a vital improvement which will provide aliya with a new impulse,” Sharansky said after the government plan was announced.
Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, commented, “We applaud the government’s and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption’s continuous efforts to ease the integration of new olim in Israel and we look forward to seeing additional benefits for new olim in the future."