Successful entrepreneurs want to sell to the biggest possible markets and this means operating in the biggest possible economies. The United States is rightly considered a global powerhouse for business, and yet this article looks outside America to the biggest economy on the planet – The European Union – and considers what it has to offer to the international entrepreneur.
Why choose the EU?
If you are a business owner wanting to make movements on an international level, the European Union will be your major stepping stone. The largest world economy in terms of GDP, it produces over 25% of the world’s wealth, though it currently holds only 12% of the world’s population.
It also promotes a unique system to ease internal trade through state border controls, with these regulations and laws continuing to relax as the EU seeks to become a more unified economic area by achieving a ‘single market’.
What makes Europe a particularly attractive investment for emerging companies is its production of great brands, high quality technology and a safe regulatory framework which is still lacking in parts of the developing world.
Since the EU covers such a huge area both geographically and culturally, finding the relevant EU country in which to root your business activities should not pose a problem, regardless of your chosen sector.
The EU is the largest producer of automotive vehicles in the world, and this sector employs a large number of skilled workers.
This sector accounts for 3% of production, added value and employment within the EU, and has the world’s largest market in this area (around 1.81 billion Euros).
Information and Communication Technology
Investments in this area are thought to have been a catalyst for around half of the EU’s productivity and growth in the last few years.
EU-Wide Labour Market
A core EU principle is of course its free movement of workers, allowing every EU national to work in any other EU country without a permit.
This helps you, the employer, to find staff with the right profile, especially if you find that skilled work in your chosen country is in shorter supply within a certain field – and this can also add diversity and creativity to your business.
Successful business immigration, to a large extent, also hinges upon the company making positive contributions to the local economy. This means that the intent and act of hiring local workers will generally put you in good stead with the authorities when your business immigration application is being considered.
Recruiting non-EU Employees
If you intend to recruit workers from overseas, the process becomes a little more complex, and each EU country will adopt a slightly different approach. The principle however, will be similar:
Apply to be a Sponsor
Non-EU workers will require a work permit to live and work for your company in the EU, but beginning the application almost always falls on the shoulders of the employer. This means your company must be approved by the authorities to sponsor foreign workers. Consult the local consulate for further details on how to begin this process.
Prove that the position cannot easily be filled by an EU national
In some cases, EU countries will require that as part of your sponsorship application, you have taken reasonable steps to employ an EU national for the advertised position and/ or that the foreign national is better suited for the role than a local employee.
Visas and Work Permits
In almost all cases your employee will need both: a visa will grant them entry into the country for a specific time period, and a work permit provides permission to take employment.
Processes for both permissions are variable; sometimes there are allowances for work permit applications to proceed whilst the applicant is in the country, however generally they will need to be abroad for the processing period.
Your Responsibility as an Employer
Importantly, check that the person you want to hire has the right to start working for you, and that you have undertaken the correct procedures.
Some Helpful Resources
The EU Blue Card Network
The Blue Card Network is a system which allows employers to hire non-EU candidates for job vacancies in the European Union. Foreign nationals will register and provide details of their qualifications and relevant skill sets, and you, the employer, is able to search and select potential applicants.
Allows skilled individuals to globalise their CVs, and recruiters to search for the next talented graduates to join their workforce.
Step Stone –
Pick an EU country and advertise on its job board by sector.