An Israeli official revealed on Monday the reason behind the slowness of immigration applications of Americans wishing to move to Israel.
According to the head of the immigration department at the Jewish Agency, Shay Felber, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has instituted a new policy on Americans wishing to migrate to Israel in the last few months.
“Every adult applying to immigrate to Israel from the United States is required to undergo an FBI background check, and an apostille –international notary certification – must be attached to the document that confirms that the applicant has no criminal record,” Felber was quoted by the Israeli daily Haaretz as saying.
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In the last ten years, immigrants to Israel from North America have been exempted from this background check. This rule did not apply to immigrants from other parts of the world. But recently things have changed.
“Three months ago .. the Interior Ministry announced that it was suspending the long-standing agreement that had allowed for the United States to be exempt,” Haaretz reported.
While Israeli officials have not revealed the reason behind the US decision, one possibility is that Americans with criminal records used their migration to Israel as an opportunity to escape the law.
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“All documents required for aliyah (Jews moving to Israel), such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as proof of one’s Jewish background, must be apostilled,” Haaretz reported.
“But except for the case of FBI background checks .. the process is usually very quick. Obtaining apostilles for criminal background checks in countries other than the United States was also relatively simple.”
The Israeli official has also said that the Jewish Agency is working with the US to reduce the waiting period and to smooth out the migration process following the FBI’s decision.
“Felber told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs that Israel had in recent weeks submitted a proposal to the FBI that would dramatically speed up the process,” Haaretz reported.
(The Palestine Chronicle)