Displaced Immigration to Israel in Numbers, and Why - Making Sense of Gov't Data as a Local Employer
Updated: Apr 11, 2022
TLDR: Companies have been asking us to make sense of the limited government data being published around displaced professionals and newcomers to Israel. The goal of this post is to help employers understand how many people are here, how many are projected to arrive, and what it all means when you're trying to hire displaced professionals. We hope to make it easier for you to quickly identify, interview, and hire newcomers to Israel in order to make the ecosystem more inclusive of immigrants who have been displaced.
Table of contents: 👩🏼💻 People in Israel with work eligibility
🇺🇦 🇷🇺 🇧🇾 Future Israelis (possible global remote workers)
👩🏼💻 People in Israel with work eligibility
🇮🇱 New immigrants (Olim):
As of now, approximately 34,000 people have entered Israel from Ukraine and Russia since the start of the war. Of those arrivals, 10,906 people were accepted for immigration (aliya) visas or declared eligible. Of those with approved visas, 3,621 are Ukrainian with visa approval, 2,450 are Russian, and 131 are Belarusian. Of those eligible for aliya, 1,400 are Ukrainian, 554 are Russian, and 46 are Belarusian. That's 6,156 newcomers to Israel on track to get citizenship whenever their paperwork is processed by the local authorities, and 4750 more who are here and eligible to get citizenship (which will take longer than the first group).
🛂 Second passport-holders:
The first people able to arrive in Israel after February 24th were the holders of "backup passports" who had received Israeli citizenship for a rainy day. The only way to get this number would be to look at how many Israelis entered the country in the last month who had not been here for a year or more (and Covid would have given you that data). While the number is unknown, we do see that 26% of our database of job seekers already holds an Israeli passport, so most of them (especially the earlier applicants) are probably in this category.
From Tourist Status to Legal Work Status or Immigration
13,765 entered from Ukraine without immigration eligibility, that we can assume have refugee status and probably a tourist visa for three months. 10,000 people have entered from Russia as tourists. To legally work in Israel, tourists will either need a work visa sponsorship, or eligible people will have to change their status to Immigrant in the country under an office of the Ministry of Interior called Ashrot. According to a recent article in Haaretz, "Thousands had already set up appointments...to change their status from tourist to immigrant. Because of this flood of requests for status change, there are currently no appointments available at Interior Ministry branches for months."
🇺🇦 🇷🇺 🇧🇾 Future Israelis (possible global remote workers)
🙋🏽♂️ People who filled out an application for immigration to Israel
As of now, approximately 21,146 people have applied for immigration to Israel using a digital form. Of those applicants, 9,500 were from Ukraine and 11,700 from Russia and Belarus. We believe this number represents the total number of applicants, meaning there are about 10,000 people in the process of arriving as immigrants (if above we saw that about 10,600 have arrived with status). 65,951 called the Jewish Agency in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.
❓People abroad who are considering immigration to Israel but haven't been able to make a consular appointment
Many eligible people who could be coming to Israel are stuck in their countries of origin across the Former Soviet Union, and many that have migrated over land borders or flown to the "near abroad" as it is called locally, are currently located in Poland, Romania, Armenia, Uzbekistan, and more. The Reboot surveyed the community and found evidence of many people with trouble getting a consular appointment. See below for more on individual cases.
In one account, someone in Belarus wrote, "In Belarus they raised the price of an Apostille 10 times [required for certifying immigration paperwork]. In the entire country, there is only one place to get an Apostille. People are standing in a live line for days and nights for this service." Another wrote that there is a 9-month wait for appointments in Russia.
Another wrote that "I sent my required documents on February 28th but even on April 1, I don't know if they are processing or not....no response by phone or email."
According to reports, there are now efforts to speed up the process in Russia for individuals. But our responders said that they didn't know how to access this information, either. There have also been reports that the Jewish Agency has launched an informational campaign to get Ukrainians abroad to contact their family members with instructions on how to evacuate from Ukraine.
✅ Fast-Track Pilot Program for Companies Bringing Employees from Ukraine and beyond to Israel
For companies, there is a pilot program that The Reboot is part of, where people's applications are processed quickly (up to 4 days) and it applies to both people under the Law of Return and not. Read more here in our informational release with Member of Knesset Ron Katz, and read the Hebrew instructions for how to do this here.
🇺🇦 People in Ukraine
At this time, martial law prevents men 18-60 from legally leaving Ukraine, and this means families are making harrowing choices about separations from their male relatives. If you're an employer, you can offer global remote job opportunities, training, networking, or CV services for anyone who may be able to leave in the future. The Reboot is bringing Israeli companies to virtual job fairs happening locally in Ukrainian cities where it is possible, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate.
🇺🇦 People who escaped Ukraine
There have been 4.2 million people who managed to leave Ukraine over land borders, but when it comes to Israel, expect to see mostly women and children among the people arriving as refugees.
🇺🇦 ❗️Under-represented and at risk of being marginalized in the workforce
One under-represented group in the employment conversation is women with refugee status, who can be qualified to work at local companies. However, questions of refugee legal work status remain. Another group that is at risk of being marginalized is women with legal work status. In both cases, women in these groups are highly likely to be separated from their male relatives and are highly likely to be here alone with their children. Companies must take a closer look at these groups, find ways to serve them, and be highly sensitive and proactive about their unique, critical needs.
🔮 What happens next?
Israel has estimated that 200,000 Ukrainians are eligible for the Law of Return
Israel has estimated that up to 600,000 Russians are eligible for the Law of Return
Israeli officials have estimated that this wave of displaced Aliya will end up being hundreds of thousands of people
The Interior Minister of Israel said that up to 50,000 from the Former Soviet Union would arrive by the summer.
Will Israel approve a phase 2 of the Fast-Track program that allows companies to bring new and current employees in faster?
Will private industry groups be successful in pushing for fast-tracking 1-year work visas for workers?
Will people without a Jewish / Israeli connection even want to come to Israel considering the high cost of living and difficulties obtaining a work visa?
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