Brexit Generates New Business Opportunities in 3 Major European Capitals

Francisco A. Laguna & Wojciech Kornacki

After our August break, today, we begin a series on Brexit.  This post focuses on potential opportunities in Europe resulting from Brexit.

Following the shocking and unexpected United Kingdom vote to exit the European Union, London is no longer considered the gateway to the European Union, and its future role in the European financial and technology markets is uncertain.  Many tech companies and international banks have begun exploring the possibility of moving to a capital on the continent to continue to enjoy the benefits of the Common European Market. This creates new business opportunities for companies seeking to re-establish certainty, cut costs and relocate to a European capital. Berlin, Warsaw and Paris each possess different qualities that make them attractive to these companies and institutions which are presently located in the UK.

Post-Brexit Aftershocks

 Right now, the UK has approximately 2 years to complete its negotiations to leave the European Union. Negotiations are expected to be very difficult, and the European Union has already made clear that it will not allow the UK to “cherry pick” only the best that the European Union has to offer. The UK’s financial sector, labor, farming and other sectors could be seriously affected by the negotiations. In order to avoid the uncertainty, some businesses have begun implementing the contingency plans to relocate to other European capitals.

Berlin

With its modern offices, low prices, and positive investment climate, Berlin seeks to replace London as the official gateway for tech companies to the European Union. Courtesy of http:// http://en.wikipedia.org

With its modern offices, low prices, and positive investment climate, Berlin seeks to replace London as the official gateway for tech companies to the European Union. Courtesy of http:// http://en.wikipedia.org

Berlin is actively seeking to replace London as a global center for financial technology. Berlin touts that it offers outstanding infrastructure and transportation capabilities, positive investment climate, substantial talent pool and office space that is cheaper than London’s. In addition, the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan area alone has approximately 6 million residents from 180 nations, making it a perfect location for any international company.

As of 2015, Berlin surpassed London in venture capital investments.  It is ready to assume London’s role and be the next gateway to the European Union for tech companies and international banks. Berlin reported that it has already received numerous inquiries from many companies currently located in London.

Paris

Paris offers the largest business district in Europe that is only 3 hours away from Brussels. With its highly trained workforce and high quality life, many businesses seriously consider relocating to Paris. Courtesy of http:// http://en.wikipedia.org

Paris offers the largest business district in Europe that is only 3 hours away from Brussels. With its highly trained workforce and high quality life, many businesses seriously consider relocating to Paris. Courtesy of http:// http://en.wikipedia.org

Paris is located in the heart of the European Union and it is one of the top business destinations for some of the world’s largest international companies, offering some of the best research and development tax credits in Europe. The city also provides highly skilled professionals and a superior quality life right in the center of the European Union. Paris has already been running marketing campaigns to attract many companies currently located in the UK.

Warsaw

Many international companies that have already opened their branch offices in Warsaw are now considering whether they should establish their headquarters there. Warsaw offers an investor friendly environment with premium business locations at highly competitive prices, and with highly trained professionals. Courtesy of http:// http://en.wikipedia.org

Many international companies that have already opened their branch offices in Warsaw are now considering whether they should establish their headquarters there. Warsaw offers an investor friendly environment with premium business locations at highly competitive prices, and with highly trained professionals. Courtesy of http:// http://en.wikipedia.org

Warsaw is one of the fastest growing cities in the European Union. It already hosts many international banks and companies including the Google Campus Warsaw, opened in 2015. Warsaw’s scientific and information technology pool of professionals and innovators is well recognized around the world.

Warsaw is superbly positioned to attract many tech companies because of its business-friendly posture, low-cost modern office space and infrastructure and dynamic stock exchange. In addition to being well-positioned within the European Union, Warsaw also offers the potential to be the gateway to many countries bordering the European Union.

 

Next week, we continue our discussion of Brexit, talking about possible repercussions of the UK’s vote.

If you are interested in learning more about the Brexit, what it means for your business and the rest of the European Union, contact TransLegal or call 703-566-9427.

Advertisements

H-4 Visa Holders Can Apply for Employment Authorizations (under Limited Circumstances)

United States Immigration Series

Post No. 8

Francisco A. Laguna & Chenai Rusike

On May 26, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans refused to lift an injunction on President Obama’s executive action to stay the deportation of over 4 million illegal immigrants and issue such immigrants work permits. This was a key component of the President’s immigration reform proposals. The 2-1 decision by the 5th Circuit casts doubt over the success of President Obama’s proposed immigration reform, especially as the 2016 election season approaches.

US Immigration Passport Stamp by Pmkpmk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

US Immigration Passport Stamp by Pmkpmk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

May 26th, however, also marked a positive step for immigration reform in the United States. As of May 26, 2015, H-4 dependents are now eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the United States. H-4 visa holders come into the country as defendants of H-1B visa workers. To be eligible for an H-4 visa, an applicant must be the spouse or the unmarried child under the age of 21 of an H-1B visa holder.  Prior to May 26th, an H-4 dependent could not work in the United States.  Rather, they were limited to furthering their education during their stay in the US.

H-4 dependents are oftentimes also highly skilled individuals, who, as of May 26th, are able to participate and contribute to the American economy. Immigrants are more likely to start businesses, which shall provide new jobs for the economy. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, as a guest blogger on the Department of Commerce website stated that “Immigrants started one of every four small businesses and high-tech startups across America, and more than 40 percent of Fortune 500.”

Many H-1B visas are issued to highly skilled STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professionals. STEM professionals tend to create jobs through their innovative work.

US Immigration Rates by Country 2001 -2005 by BGManofID at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

US Immigration Rates by Country 2001 -205 by BGManofID at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Prior to May 26, 2015, many highly skilled foreign nationals were attracted by the possibility of coming to the US possibly to work for a Fortune 500 company or a top tier high-tech firm.  However, after weighing the pros and cons, many decided to choose other countries that compete with the US in their respective industries because those countries offered more attractive non-immigrant visa restrictions.  This forced US companies to increase compensation packages offered to potential H-1B candidates to make up for the salary gap resulting from their spouses’ inability to work while in this country.  By allowing the dependents of H-1B visa holders the opportunity to work in the US, US companies can now offer lower compensation packages to those visa holders.

Equally important, this new reform will likely improve the morale of the home.  For some H-4 dependents, not being able to contribute to the home has been the cause of physical and mental abuse in the home. These H-4 dependents were at the mercy of their H-1B spouses, who would threaten to divorce them or, threaten not to extend their H-4 Visa. Today, they have been given a new voice in their home.

US Permanent Resident Card by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).Ahkitj at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

US Permanent Resident Card by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).Ahkitj at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Although this is a step in the direction of immigration reform, the ability of an H-4 visa holder to apply for an EAD is quite limited and continues to be dependent on the status and position of the H-1B worker. To be eligible, the H-1B spouse must be in the United States for over 6 years, or have filed a petition to change status to a legal permanent resident, known as an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.  The I-140 is filed by the H-1B worker’s US employer.  In addition, there are yearly quotas for EADs available to H-4 dependents.  For the first year of the program, the quota shall be 179,600; for subsequent years, the quota falls to 55,000.

TransLegal is available to help corporations and individuals navigate the intricacies of the US immigration system.  Call us with your questions.