Photo Credit: Nati Shohat /Flash90
Physical therapist

The Knesset plenum on Tuesday evening approved an amendment to a law on health professions which determines that paramedical professionals who were certified in a country where their job does not require an academic degree can convert their qualifications in Israel without having to go back to school.

The law does not apply to people who lived most of their lives in Israel and traveled abroad to study.

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Occupational therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists, therapists who treat people with communication disorders and other paramedical professionals who made aliyah in recent years have discovered that they were not permitted to practice in Israel, where an academic degree is required for such jobs.

According to the new law, for the next six years, olim from any country in which this discrepancy exists will be able to receive authorization to work in their profession from the Health Ministry, as long as they meet all criteria other than an academic degree. The Health Ministry may withhold the permanent certification until after a six-month trial period, in which the olim proved their knowledge and experience. All decisions related to converting certificates must be presented to the oleh in writing.

After six years, the Health Minister may extend the law for up to two additional three-year periods, before having to re-legislate the policy.

Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Elie Elalouf (Kulanu) said, “This law will allow olim and Israeli citizens [living abroad] to return home.” Elalouf added, “We stick to academic degrees as if they are a force majeure, but they aren’t.”

Fifteen MKs supported the legislation in its third and final reading, with none opposed.

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