COVID” Update – No. 4 (22/07/21)

Visa for Special Humanitarian Reasons
("Special Visa")

The writer: Adv. Ron Obuz, partner at the law firm Obuz, Burla & Co.
Specializes in regulating status for foreign workers,
and issuing humanitarian visas

Following the latest update we distributed and following the previous updates we published, we will also update you that yesterday (21/7/21), in the Knesset plenum on the new law regarding the extension of stay of foreign nursing workers during the COVID period.

Indeed, as we thought, at the end of the day, a number of changes were made to the first bill that was submitted and we can update that the new law that will come into force soon speaks to the following:

The new law applies only to those who submitted an application to the Humanitarian Committee after 1.3.20 until 31.3.21 (in the bill the date was 31.12.20 and it was extended by 3 months) or those who submitted an application before and were in legal proceedings in which it was determined that, the employee’s departure from the country will be in accordance with the public authority’s publications during the COVID period.

The law requires that there be a continuum of treatment of at least three months (in the plenum there were talks about half a year) provided that at the time of submitting the application the foreign worker has not resided in Israel for more than 13 years.

For those who meet these conditions, the threshold conditions currently set by law will not apply – that is, the threshold condition regarding the persistence of the foreign worker in a nursing patient will not apply for at least 24 consecutive months, the caregiver will not need to finish his last job with the nursing patient because of his death or transferation to a nursing home, and in addition the restriction of not being able to employ a foreign worker who have worked in the past with a former humanitarian visa with another nursing patient, will not be applied.

Residence permits will not be extended automatically even though in most cases all data is already in the hands of the authority (since these are only patients who have already submitted applications or are in legal proceedings) and it will be necessary to submit a special request to the committee for reconsideration

In order for the nursing patient's case to be examined, he will have to meet the following two conditions together:

A. The decision of the Humanitarian Committee regarding the application of the nursing patient to extend the foreign worker’s license was made between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021 or the decision regarding the application was made before 1 March 2020 but a legal proceeding was filed until 31.3.21, determined in the legal process that the foreign worker will have to leave Israel after 1.3.20, or the legal process regarding the application submitted is still pending.

B. In addition to the first condition, there is another condition according to which, it is not enough for the patient to meet the above dates, but it must be shown that a qualified person (social worker, doctor, brother, etc.) met with the patient during the relevant periods and gave a written opinion in which according to the foreign worker was working in giving nursing care for the nursing patient, and in which it is stated that the termination of the foreign worker’s employment may cause serious injury to the patient.

The temporary provision to amend the above law will be valid for only 120 days from the date of publication of the law (in the bill offering it was only 90 days). Which means that from the date of publication of the law there is an opportunity window of 3 months only to submit the requests to the committee. 

Although the publications speak of a group of about 2,000 people to whom the new law will apply, in our opinion it is a much smaller group, even after another 3 months have been added at the end of the period to which the law will apply.

In addition, however, in relation to patients who did rely on the long non-enforcement period this is a drop in the ocean as thousands more patients will now be left without a solution and will have to locate a new employee.

That is, the new law does not apply at all to patients who employed foreign workers during the COVID period and did not apply to the Humanitarian Committee.

The logic of this remains very puzzling and even the chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee that discussed the bill, MK Gilad Kariv, was unable to understand what was behind this idea and indeed saw it as a particular constitutional difficulty. According to him, it is not clear why the law only affects patients who applied to the Humanitarian Committee when it was known to these patients at the time that they did not meet the threshold conditions of the law anyway and have no chance of entering the committee.

That is, those who really relied on the period of non-enforcement and did not apply to the Humanitarian Committee the law did not apply to him, however, those who did not listen to the PA publications and tried anyway and continued legal proceedings in the Appeals Court and District Courts were hired and earned a quality worker whom will get a permanent visa.

 

It also emerged from the meetings that preceded the approval of the law that there is currently a shortage of about 22,000 foreign workers in nursing in Israel. The Population and Immigration Authority did not publish this figure and it became known only incidentally and it can even be said with caution that the authority preferred for reasons reserved to it to hide it from the public and the committee.

What should you do?

During the COVID period we talked to hundreds of families and advised most of them to immediately start a procedure to regulate the status of the foreign worker while expecting a legislative change that will probably only affect those who are in the process of regulating the worker. Fortunately, we were right and our customers who listened to our advice will soon be able to enjoy the employees they currently have, on a regular basis!

Unfortunately, those who chose to wait until the last minute and “see what happens” did not fall within the scope of the amendment to the law – even if the employee has been with him for 3 months and even if a deep therapeutic relationship has been established between them following the period of non-enforcement.

Of course this is not the end of a verse for these families and even someone who does not meet the conditions defined by law can find a quality solution to his distress. You can contact us for advice on what can be done, in each case individually. 

We believe that in the future we will succeed in bringing a change to the new law so that it will apply to a larger population because we see a number of constitutional problems in the way the law was passed at the end of the day and we intend to act for change.

We are motivated to fight for you until you get the visa for the foreign worker! The successes that our firm’s lawyers have brought for our clients before the Humanitarian Committee and the Court of Appeals and Precedents we have created in the District Court, along with the wonderful feeling we have been able to help another family in need of nursing assistance are what give us the strength to move on. You can contact us via phone  036866828 or WhatsApp 0587938841

The Writer: Adv. Ron Obuz, Partner At The Law Firm Obuz, Burla & Co. Specializes In Regulating Status For Foreign Workers, And Issuing Humanitarian Visas​
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