Knesset Committee OKs U.S. Investor Visas Deal

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

A bilateral deal for U.S. citizens to receive investor visas in Israel and to give Israelis greater access to USA E-2 investor visas was approved by the Knesset Interior Committee on Wednesday, Arutz Sheva reported.

The reciprocal agreement with the U.S. is aimed at encouraging economic growth in both countries and strengthening relations between the two.

Granting the visa would facilitate joint Israeli-American investments as well, promoting investment and employment opportunities in Israel.

The Israeli investment visa allows U.S. citizens to stay and work in Israel for as long as needed for the investment, along with any essential employees and family.

The U.S. technically offered the E2 visa — the American equivalent to the Israeli license — to Israeli nationals in 2012, but its implementation has been delayed while the Obama administration worked at finalizing the terms of the visa.

The decision comes despite an ongoing brouhaha over restrictions on Israeli citizens from receiving tourist visas until further notice.

In April, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an internal review into claims that hundreds of young Israelis were being barred from entering the U.S. for political reasons.

An initial investigation found that the rejection rate of visa applications for Israelis ages 21-26 had doubled, from 16% in 2009 to 32% in 2014. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro stated that the visa crisis was close to coming to an end several days later.