Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel halts urgent immigration program for nationals of Russia, Belarus

April 23, 2023 at 12:20 pm

Jewish new immigrants from Ukraine, who are making Aliyah (Immigration to Israel), walk down the stairs as their airplane lands at Ben Gurion International airport, Tel Aviv [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel canceled an emergency program offering Russian and Belarusian nationals an expedited path to Israeli citizenship, local media reported on Saturday, Anadolu reports.

The fast-tracked program for immigration to Israel, or Aliyah, will remain open to Ukrainian immigrants, the daily Haaretz said on the decision, which comes nearly 14 months since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war in February last year.

Haaretz reported that the number of Russian nationals seeking Israeli citizenship has spiked amid concerns of an expanded military draft, along with human rights violations.

Tel Aviv’s latest move will leave fresh arrivals seeking to make Aliyah from Russia and Belarus without legal residency status for months and limit their access to employment, housing, and health care.

Outside of exceptional humanitarian circumstances, citizens of Russia and Belarus will be unable to utilize the emergency track unless they signed up to one-stop-shop service sites seeking to make Aliyah before April 15.

From now on, Russians and Belarusians seeking to make Aliyah will have to initiate an immigration file with Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority, attend a meeting with a consul for eligibility verification, and make an additional appointment with the Interior Ministry.

Following these steps, they will be eligible to receive new immigrant residency status from the Aliyah Ministry.

READ: Israelis protest planned judicial overhaul ahead of 75th independence day