Virginia, US
We can partner with you as your one-stop-shop for business planning and strategies that span the whole mobility landscape in Europe.
 
 

 

BREXIT

 
 
Brexit won’t just impact immigration rules in the UK it will also affect the immigration requirements for UK nationals travelling to, living and working in the EU, and in the individual member states. This will lead to divergences and more complex processes. 
 
With this degree of uncertainty, you need an advisor who can see the global framework, provide a holistic view of the risks and opportunities that Brexit could present, and give you a voice at decision-makers’ tables.
 
We are best placed to deliver sound legal advice and help you understand what other businesses are doing to prepare. Whether you are planning for a deal and transitional period or contingency planning for a no deal, we can partner with you to:
 
  • Limit the impact on your staff’s mobility in and to the EU/UK
  • Provide you with benchmarking knowledge, events and tools 
  • Screen your EU/UK population to identify and track affected staff
  • Develop a communication strategy for your employees, to inform them about political developments and the impact on their rights
  • Conduct one-to-one consultations and give personalised advice
  • Discuss and re-think your future recruitment or relocation policies to avoid disruptions 
 
 

Case studies

 
1. Communications plan for Brexit 
 
Situation: With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, our client wanted to make sure their employees across Europe were made fully aware of the options available to them. Their employees were working across several EU countries and different rules apply in each country. 
 
Solution: Fragomen hosted webinars and Facebook live events for the client’s EU and UK national employees which highlighted the specific immigration options in the countries where they live and work. We created a hotline so that their employees could ask the questions that mattered most to them and receive individual assessments. We also drafted an email communication plan for the client, tailored to their needs, corporate culture and communication style. This allowed the client to send informative and comforting communications to their employees at critical times in the Brexit negotiation process.
 
2. Contingency planning
 
Situation: Our client is a multinational business with UK nationals living and working in several EU countries. They wanted to ensure they were prepared for the eventual transition from Freedom of Movement to the requirements of individual EU member state immigration schemes. A particular focus was the clients’ frontier workers and business travellers, who brought a heightened level of intricacy.  
 
Solution: Fragomen helped the client identify employees and roles that will be impacted by Brexit, highlighting potential gaps in the work readiness of those individuals and roles in the company. We delivered contingency planning advice to ensure that the client is ready to take action when the freedom of movement ends. The contingency plan included:
 
  • Budget estimates for 2019, in the event of a no-deal Brexit and sudden change to Third Country National status for UK nationals
  • Estimates of processing times and procedural requirements per employee or role under the immigration rules of the EU country where UK nationals work and/or live 
  • Broader strategic solutions that may enhance cross-border mobility for impacted employees 
  • Holistic solutions that consider new immigration requirements in the UK and changes in business activity in the EU 
 
By contingency planning in advance of the transition, our client feels confident they are ready for Brexit, whether or not it happens with a deal. 
 
 

 

POSTED WORKERS

 
 
Posted Workers notification and employment document retention requirements pose a huge challenge for businesses. 
 
These requirements are different in each EU member state and vary based on, for example, the population affected, notification tools, different informational documents required, different retention periods, different language and storage requirements, etc.
 
These variations, in addition to other areas of law which come into play like social security and labour law, make it difficult to implement common processes and keep your global mobility programme compliant. 
 
Fragomen has a solution.
 
Day One Compliance solution
 
In a time of increased compliance checks and changing travel patterns, we take an integrated approach to work readiness and mobility in Europe.
 
European work readiness strategies span the whole mobility landscape including immigration, posted worker regulations and social security, to ensure full compliance from Day One.
 
By partnering with Fragomen to ensure Day One Compliance, we can leverage the existing information we already hold for current clients to establish a consistent time- and cost-effective mobility and posted worker programme across the board. For new clients, the required information will only need to be provided once to reap the same benefits. This will efficiently ensure your employees can travel legally for work and business into and across Europe. We are uniquely placed to:
 
  • Conduct audits to assess your risk profile, considering immigration, social security and posted worker compliance rules
  • Provide a knowledge product on posted workers and social security requirements across Europe
  • Develop consistent and efficient policies to maximise the compliance of your short term traveller population
  • Equip you with case management and compliance-boosting technology and programmes
  • Leverage government relationships to shape the policy-making process and reduce administrative burden for businesses
 
 

Case studies

 
1. Assisting a client with an integrated Day One Compliance solution
 
Situation: A large US multinational organisation was sending assignees from one of their non-EU overseas plants to Luxembourg for a period of 1-2 months, to receive training as well as provide hands-on support.
 
Solution: The assignees could enter Luxembourg under a Schengen Visa without the need for a work permit, but the employer had posted worker and social security obligations to fulfil in Luxembourg. Fragomen worked with the employer to develop a strategy for work readiness on Day One that combined compliance processes to address the immigration, posted worker and social security requirements. Due to our integrated approach, the employer was prevented from incurring significant potential penalties for non-compliance (up to a maximum of 50,000 EUR).
 
2. Affecting change in Posted Workers regulations 
 
Situation: Our clients were struggling with diverse, burdensome and, at times, disproportionate requirements of the revised Posted Workers legal framework.
 
Solution: To mitigate this, Fragomen set up a government affairs team composed of lawyers, policy advisors and senior consultants to advocate for our clients’ interests with decision makers both at European level (where these regulations originate from) and in several EU countries (where the practical consequences were experienced by companies). We drafted a position paper aimed at relaxing or rescinding the problematic Posted Worker rules by EU and member states governments or, where possible, to come to business friendly rulings. Fragomen continues to advocate for improvements to the Posted Workers regulations.
 
3. Enhancing compliance and efficiencies of a Posted Workers programme 
 
Situation: Our client was struggling to navigate the complex Posted Workers regulations throughout the EU.
 
Solution: Fragomen provided the client with several knowledge and strategic advice tools containing comparative information on Posted Workers requirements for varying types of short term travellers. The resources had a particular focus on business visitors in all EU and relevant EEA jurisdictions. We also provided the client with access to our compliance programme and risk assessment matrix, highlighted potential areas for improvement and increased efficiencies, and helped the company to drive compliance through their internal Posted Worker policies and practices. As a result, the client now operates a compliant and efficient Posted Worker notification programme.
 
 

 

EUROPEAN INTRA-CORPORATE TRANSFEREES PERMIT (ICT PERMIT)

 
 
The EU ICT permit presents a huge opportunity for businesses to enhance their immigration flexibility and cost efficiency in Europe. Where once your non-European ICT employees required a work authorisation per EU country, with the new legislation, your employees coming to the EU may need just one ICT permit to work across multiple EU countries if requirements are met and certain processes followed.
 
But there are complexities to the rules. Each EU member state has implemented the European ICT rules differently, so there are contrasting requirements your business will need to fulfil to remain compliant and enjoy the advantages it brings.
 
We can help you navigate and strategically plan the movement of your people in the EU in line with the ICT Directive and keep you compliant with laws and regulations in each member state. But, we’ll go further by mapping your resources, planning your immigration strategy across Europe, increasing efficiencies and delivering real cost savings.
 
 

Case studies

 
1. Managing an international graduate programme
 
Situation: Our client’s international graduate programme involved four three-month assignments to different European countries, kicking off with an introduction week and ending with a feedback session at the company’s headquarters in the Netherlands. 
 
Solution: We helped the client navigate through the various immigration policies of the different countries involved and we built an intra-EU mobility strategy to enable their young graduates to participate in this rotational programme in a compliant manner from an immigration perspective.
 
2. A strategic approach to maximise time efficiencies
 
Situation: Our client was facing long government processing times in one of the European countries where its assignees were temporarily assigned. This was inevitably causing disruptions to the business.
 
Solution: We leveraged our comparative information on processing times for intra-corporate transfers in different EU countries to develop a strategy tailored to our client’s profile. The client decided to base their key personnel in another EU country (which had shorter immigration processing times) so their employees could travel within the EU and fulfill their urgent duties throughout Europe. 
 
 
 

 

RESEARCHERS, TRAINEES AND STUDENTS

 
 
Businesses across the EU are competing to attract and retain young talent.  More relaxed immigration rules for foreign researchers, students and trainees will be vital to continued innovation and growth. 
 
In 2016, the EU issued a Directive on Students and Researchers, and member states are implementing the new legislation locally.
 
One way that businesses can attract researchers, trainees and students is through rotational placements and graduate programmes. With these programmes come an array of immigration compliance risks and legal barriers. For example, the typically lower salary brackets or certain nationalities can present issues at the application stage. We can:
 
  • Understand your business and graduate recruitment practices, and highlight opportunities within EU legislation to help move your young talents where they need to be quickly
  • Assess the feasibility of your graduate and trainee recruitment practices via a complex and proprietary matrix of immigration knowledge and best practices across member states 
  • Help shape and monitor the implementation of the EU rules in member states 
  • Set up and/or develop your company’s traineeship and graduate programme and policies in a strategic and compliant way
 
 

Case studies

 
1. Developing graduate and trainee programmes
 
Situation: A client was experiencing skills shortages and had many open vacancies they were finding difficult to fill.
 
Solution: We helped the client to build a traineeship programme across the EU for foreign students, to create a pipeline for new talent. We partnered with the client to find the best suited profiles for their vacancies and to integrate young talent into the company without having to worry if the students had completed their studies yet, or if they graduated from a university located in that Member State, in another EU country or in a third country. This gave the client greater access to talent and helped towards future proofing the business. 
 
2. Maximising opportunities in immigration law for researchers
 
Situation: A client, particularly active in the area of research and development (R&D), had been struggling to find suitable candidates with the right experience in Belgium.
 
Solution: As part of our ongoing involvement in government conversations around improvements to immigration policy, we identified the skills area of research and development. We discussed with the national authorities the experience of our client and other businesses, and how existing legislation provisions could be used to help clients benefit from immigration facilitations available for researchers. The client is now effectively capitalising on the opportunities offered by the immigration regulations.
 
 
 

 

ENTREPRENEURS AND START-UPS

 
 
Residency and citizenship by investment is an emerging immigration field that requires broad technical knowledge of global options, and familiarity with the goals and needs of foreign investors. Fragomen’s Worldwide Private Client Practice has experience providing multi-jurisdictional solutions to investors and their family members, and we specialise in providing options in several jurisdictions, so investors can make a decision on what works best for them.  
 
If you are an entrepreneur looking to launch a business in the EU or a budding start-up considering EU cross-border expansion opportunities, Fragomen can help you plan a strategy and maximise the opportunities presented by immigration rules and trade agreements between countries.
 
 

Case study

 
1. Short and long term planning for an entrepreneur coming to the EU 
 
Situation: Our client was looking to enter the EU single market, but was not interested in any particular member state, only that she wanted to set up in the EU.
 
Solution: We were able to offer this client our multi-country knowledge and devised a residency plan that ensured her smooth arrival in the EU. This included working closely with the individual’s tax and wealth advisors to guarantee that her short term residency goals and long term plans, such as permanent residence and citizenship, were properly planned from the outset.
 
 

 

BLUE CARD

 
 
Launched in 2011, the Blue Card was intended to attract highly skilled migrants to the EU. The Blue Card itself is a largely under-utilised work authorisation option due to the fact that many national schemes seem to be more attractive and easy to use. 
 
At Fragomen, we don’t just advise you to choose the most commonly used category simply because it’s the easiest thing to do, we strategically look at your business and your expert population and advise on the right options. In certain circumstances, the Blue Card may be a more favourable choice for you and your employees. By partnering with Fragomen we can:
 
  • Assess your population in the EU and advise on the right solution to suit your business and your individual workers
  • Help you understand those countries and circumstances where the Blue Card may be preferable to a local work permit
  • Reduce your administrative burden by discussing the Blue Card as an option to remove the requirement for annual renewals
  • Help you leverage other facilitations linked to the Blue Card that will help your people move around Europe more easily
 
Planned development and reform of the Blue Card
 
The European Commission acknowledged that the Blue Card programme in its current form has not been as popular as anticipated, so it undertook an evaluation and proposed to modify the existing EU Blue Card scheme. 
 
The European Commission invited Fragomen to advise on the challenges associated with the practicalities of the Blue Card. We responded with a comparative analysis that leveraged our industry knowledge to highlight how the scheme could be improved for businesses.   
 
As a result, a proposal has been adopted to improve the permit by relaxing existing eligibility provisions, improving intra-EU mobility rights of workers in the European Union and reducing processing times, among other changes. The new provisions are currently in the process of passing through the European Union's standard decision-making process, however the final adoption appears to be challenging given the reluctance towards immigration in many EU countries.  
 
Fragomen is monitoring Blue Card developments closely. Watch this space!
 
 

Case studies

 
1. Providing clarity on when to leverage the EU Blue Card
 
Situation: A client approached us as they wanted to understand more about the Blue Card Scheme and if it might be suitable for their business.
 
Solution: We consulted with the client to understand more about their priorities and business plans. We leveraged our findings to explain the differences between the national schemes for highly skilled migrants and the EU Blue Card; and how in certain instances one immigration route may be more preferable than the other. As a result, the client opted to switch some of their assignees onto EU Blue Cards because this led to administrative simplification (less renewal procedures) and more advantageous long term residency planning opportunities for the individuals. 
 
2. Maximising the benefits of the EU Blue Card 
 
Situation: While conducting a work permit eligibility assessment for one of our clients’ top management employees, we identified that the Blue Card permit would enable the employee to become eligible for long term residency in Belgium sooner than any other type of highly skilled work permit we could have obtained. 
 
Solution: As the employee was moving from Germany (where she held an EU Blue Card) to Belgium, we advised – as she was eligible – to apply for an EU Blue Card in Belgium. This immigration set up allows the employee to apply for an EU long term residency permit in Belgium much sooner than if she had to fulfil the usual five year requirement. When the employee eventually applies for the EU long term residency permit, this will be the first of its kind obtained in Belgium via an immigration scheme that combines residence durations in two different EU member states. 
 
 

 
 

SCHENGEN

 
 
More and more, we’re seeing that Europe wants to protect the Schengen area which spans 26 countries that have abolished controls at their internal borders. This is leading to increased security checks, IT and database enhancements (e.g., Entry-Exit System, European Travel Information and Authorisation System, etc.). With the increased scrutiny, it’s vital that your business can effectively track and manage your short-term business travellers.
 
The rules on allowable activities for business travellers vary from country to country and this leads to confusion surrounding your business’ compliance obligations. Common questions include: 
 
  • “Can I enter the EU for extended business travel?”
  • “What documents do I need to enter?”
  • “How long can I stay?”
  • “What are the limitations in terms of working?”
  • “What are the limitations in terms of duration?”
  • “Are there any solutions to extend my stay?” 
 
By partnering with Fragomen, we can:
 
  • Strategically look at your short-term business traveller population and design a programme and processes to manage the movement of your people in and out of the Schengen Area for work purposes
  • Provide you with access to our proprietary technology to monitor, report and analyse your short-term traveller population
  • Keep you one step ahead of compliance requirements and variations between countries
  • Holistically manage your short term traveller programme alongside your Blue Card, ICT and posted workers population
  • Work on strategic solutions to overcome duration limitations in the Schengen Area 
 
 

Case study

 
1. Driving compliance for a business traveller programme
 
Situation: A company realised that its business traveller population was subject to the greatest variety of rules across the EU and it was the company’s most difficult population to track. 
 
Solution: We worked closely with the client to carefully review the duration and the nature of its business travellers’ trips from a compliance perspective. We conducted an audit to identify the risks the client was exposed to with respect to its business travellers and shared our results. We then helped the company to mitigate these risks through our compliance tools which combine work permit requirements, posted workers notifications and Schengen limitations for duration of stay. As a result of our efforts, the client feels confident that upcoming enhanced security checks and labour law inspections will not affect its business travellers and/or cause disruptions for the company.