Israel to Import Hundreds of High Tech Workers

YERUSHALAYIM -
IBM Labs in Haifa. (Guybas)
IBM Labs in Haifa. (Guybas)

In response to a series of warnings that the Israeli high tech industry is stagnating due to a lack of skilled workers, the government will undertake to bring hundreds of foreign workers into the country to fill the gap, Globes said on Sunday.

A task force on the problem is expected to submit a recommendation for easing the process in obtaining permission from the Immigration Authority importing the workers. “Specialist visas” will be offered, enabling them to reside in Israel for two years, with the possibility of an extension.

Prime Minister’s Office director general Eli Groner and Ministry of the Economic and Industry director general Amit Lang are heading the task force, which should be concluding its work in the next few weeks. The committee also included Innovation and Industrial Research and Development Administration director general Avi Hasson, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration, and others.

There will be no preference for accepting workers from any specific country.

Sources involved said on Sunday that Netanyahu, who is also Minister of the Economy and Industry, would endorse the team’s recommendations. Unlike the importing of foreign workers in agriculture and construction, no maximum number will be set for workers allowed in Israeli high-tech companies.

Netanyahu created the task force in February, after seeing reports of a shortage of 10,000 workers in Israeli high-tech companies, startups, and cyber companies.

“The Israeli high-tech industry has come to a halt: it is unable to develop and produce more than what it is producing now, because it lacks suitable personnel,” an industry source said.