It is difficult for foreigners to find jobs in Israel. There are no restrictions on how many foreigners a company may hire, but many qualified Israelis are competing for jobs. Despite Israeli companies’ tendency to hire Israelis, it is, however, possible for foreigners to find a job in Israel.
To enter Israel for work, you must have a work permit and a work visa. However, you may only obtain this after a company has offered you a job. The best way to find a job from abroad is to search companies, secure interviews, and then visit Israel on a tourist visa.
Typically, you should not start looking for a job more than three or four months in advance of moving to Israel. Most companies will not hire employees for more than four months in advance because they want employers to start work quickly. If you need time to learn Hebrew in an ulpan (intensive language course), be sure that your potential employers know this.
To start your job search, you should look at international and Israeli job websites. Most Israeli online job listings are in Hebrew, but there are a few in English, such as Israemploy and Jobnet.
The company Dun and Bradstreet has a list of the top 100 companies in Israel. Foreigners should check these companies for possible positions in their professions. These are large companies and may need English-speaking employees.
Newspapers also have job listings. The Friday editions of many newspapers like Maariv and Yediot run job listings and classifieds in Hebrew. The Jerusalem Post publishes job advertisements in English and Hebrew.
If you plan on immigrating (aliyah) as a Jew, you will have more help finding a job. Aliyah organizations such as the Jewish Agency have job listings and will provide job counseling. However, you must be a prospective immigrant or a recent immigrant to access these services.
Networking is important in Israel. More than 60% of job openings in Israel are never listed publicly because companies hire internally. Ask your contacts in Israel if they know of a job opening in your profession. The more people you know in Israel, the better your chances are for finding a job.
If you have contacts in Israel, use their mailing address if possible. Companies are more likely to look at applicants with an Israeli mailing address. However, be careful about which location you include. Some Israeli companies will not look at applicants who live very far away. If you want to work for a company, you should state that you are “willing to commute” in your curriculum vitae (CV).
It does not hurt to ask a company’s human resources department if they have jobs available. If they do not have jobs available, ask if you can send them your CV anyway. Companies will put your CV on file, and if they have a job opening, they might contact you. This is not a sure way to get a job in Israel (or even a suggested way), but it is good to get your CV to as many companies as possible.
Foreigners should also look at foreign companies that have a presence in Israel. These companies include Schweppes, Cadbury, Motorola, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft. They are known to hire professionals and graduates in their Israeli offices. Alternatively, your current company might be able to transfer yours to an Israeli office.
What to do when you have not found a job
Employment agencies will help you if you have not been able to find a job. Some agencies help English-speakers find jobs in Israel. Other companies find temporary workers and freelancers for Israeli companies. However, these companies do not usually find jobs for people who are not already in Israel.
If you’re an immigrant (Oleh), and you cannot find a job, the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption will assist in career counseling and employment opportunities. You have access to these resources for ten years after aliyah.