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Fast-Tracking Israel's Immigration Attraction Via Cell Phone

Israel has come up with a jazzy new program to entice immigrants and ex-pats to come home on aliyah by easing “paperwork” via cell phone.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 5/14/2012, 9:17 PM

Man talks on cell phone
Man talks on cell phone
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel's Ministry of Absorption has come up with a jazzy new aliyah program to entice immigrants and ex-pats to come home by easing “paperwork” via cell phone. The worldwide “Returning Home Project” is using a mobile phone application that involves scanning a QR Code on the ministry's website. 

One is told to complete the registration form that appears in response, or if not, to enter an address into the phone and fill out a form as instructed on the phone screen.

It's a glitzy new way to attract electronics-loving Israelis back to the homeland, especially at a time when things aren't so rosy in the United States, and with presidential elections looming later this year, the future is anything but certain.

However, as the ministry's website cautions, it is recommended that potential returnees “check the information about registration procedures and other information about returning to Israel (for example, payment to the National Insurance Institute, vocational guidance, first steps for returning residents, and more).

Many children of ex-pats who are eligible for the program, for example, may not be fluent -- or even read or write Hebrew at all. They qualify as Israeli citizens, but could certainly some forms difficult to contend with, especially those which are in Hebrew, despite the site itself being available in the English language.

For example, a page specifically designed to stop the scientific brain drain that has plagued the Jewish State for the past several decades explains that the ministry offers “diverse forms of assistance for promoting integration into the R&D sector in Israel.

"The Ministry offers you, scientists and researchers, professional counseling and guidance, along with financial help, in order to facilitate and improve your chances of integrating into research and development in Israel's public and private sectors," it states. "The Center for Absorption in Science operates a variety of programs for promoting your vocational integration, and provides research grants, participation in salaries, and other forms of assistance.”

But for those who seek detailed information, frustration will be their only reward. One is referred to the “Brain Gain Program” --completely written in Hebrew, a language unfamiliar to most new immigrants and even many “returning” Israelis, if they are children of those who left years ago.