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Israel to extend visas of Ukrainian refugees, allow them to work

Ukrainians who fled the fighting in Ukraine land at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Ukrainians who fled the fighting in Ukraine land at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv on March 17, 2022. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

The Interior Ministry announces that it will automatically extend the tourist visas of Ukrainian citizens currently in Israel through June 30, and not prevent them from working in the country.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 28,000 Ukrainians have entered Israel, joining thousands who were already in the country when war broke out.

As with most tourists who enter, the Ukrainians were granted a three-month entry visa, which for the earliest arrivals will soon be expiring. According to the Interior Ministry announcement, the visas will be automatically extended without the need for the Ukrainian refugees to visit any government office.

The same applies to any Ukrainians who were in Israel illegally at the start of the war; though they will not be deported, they are not allowed to work.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked says that over the next month she will revisit the issue and make a further decision on the status of Ukrainians who arrived in Israel both before and after the Russian invasion.

The decision is welcomed by Labor MK Ibtisam Mara’ana, chair of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers. Mara’ana tweets that it is “very good news,” and thanks Shaked and her office “for making the right and moral decision.”

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