Recent months have seen a marked increase in surprise inspections of companies employing foreign workers. The inspections were carried out by the special police force of the National Immigration Authority, which is known as the Oz Unit. Some of the employers inspected in this manner were high-profile, multinational corporations. Since Jan. 1, 2013, more than 220 highly-skilled foreign workers have been deported due to the raids. The majority of deported foreign employees were American, Irish, Japanese or Korean.

The raids were conducted with no advance notice to the employers, but with considerable preparation on the part of the Oz Unit. In each case, the officers conducting the inspection had detailed information about the employees who were working illegally. When the police arrived, they rounded up all foreign employees at the site, checked the passports and visas of each, and interviewed them. Any employees without B-1 visas who were found to be actively working were transported directly to detention centers in buses, and most were deported very soon after. In some cases, individuals were given 48 hours to depart Israel.

All of these workers will require special permission to be able to enter Israel in the future, and the Israeli government may share information about their immigration violations with border authorities in other nations.

The managers and companies found to be employing foreigners illegally are being investigated, and may face criminal charges from the Ministry of the Interior. The Oz officers conducting the investigations have made it clear that the companies will be held responsible at every level for the violations.

The raids are expected to continue in the near future. As a result, BAL advises clients to:

  • Adopt full compliance with all immigration policies and labor law requirements in all written materials.
  • Review immigration regulations with all business travelers who will spend more than 10 days in Israel. Ensure that they understand that no active work is permitted.
  • Update company intranet information with compliance reminders and warnings.
  • Create a system to allow for close monitoring of all contractors and subcontractors working on site. Gate control is especially useful.
  • Issue reminders to managers at all levels that unless a foreign national has a valid work visa, he or she is not permitted to do any work in Israel. Inform managers that they will risk criminal liability for allowing foreign nationals to work for the company illegally.
  • Issue reminders to all contractors that they will bear criminal responsibility for allowing foreign nationals to work for them illegally.
  • Contact BAL immediately as soon as an inspection begins.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Israel. For additional information, please contact

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