If there are gaps in access to talent, are regulators looking to fill these and if so how? How much impact does the fintech industry have on influencing immigration policy in your jurisdiction?

Fintech (2nd edition)

Belgium Small Flag Belgium

In practice, the most noticeable gap in access to talent lies at the level of the compliance functions. There is sufficient skilled staff on the market, but they are difficult to move and it turns out to be no sinecure to have relatively experienced compliance officers take the step from incumbents (large institutions, fixed values) to fintech companies and start-ups in this sector. Such officers need to be familiar with the specific Belgian regulations, which also quickly restricts the eligible public for this task. In Belgium, however, the regulator itself does not actively look or facilitate to fill these gaps. Nevertheless, a positive shift is noticeable lately and we see that more and more smaller innovative newcomers on the market are able to attract and inspire the talent their organisation requires.

Bermuda Small Flag Bermuda

The Bermuda Monetary Authority’s Insurance Innovation Committee was established in 2017 and developed a cyber-supervision regime, including enhancements to the Capital and Solvency Return for disclosures about cyber-related data for commercial (re)insurers. In addition, the Committee worked with financial technology experts from industry to identify components of a sound regulatory regime for fintech. The Bermuda Monetary Authority’s 2018 legislative agenda included advising on fintech legislation and policy. The regulator has previously stated that it would work with financial technology experts from industry to explore the need for associated regulation and development of specific supervisory skills related to fintech.

See Question 11 with respect to immigration policy.

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

It’s hard to measure the fintech industry influence on immigration policy in Brazil, since it is still in its early stages and no major impact have been proved under immigration rates related to the fintechs appearance.

However, it is fair to state that fintechs have a natural advantage over traditional companies in the battle for the young talented workforce. For instance, their more flexible and diverse culture and concern about the social impact of their operations tend to function as a factor in attracting the new talent generation that holds the skills needed to drive innovation in these companies. On the other hand, the lack of more mature professionals with adequate knowledge of the regulation of the financial services sector in the country, which is rigorous and complex, may represent a barrier to the advancement of these companies.

Chile Small Flag Chile

The Fintech industry in Chile has not been able to have a substantive influence on migration policies since the government and the legislature have focused on the migration crisis in Latin America. The increasing flow of expatriates from Ecuador, Colombia, Haiti, Venezuela, etc., diverted the attention of the Chilean government in favor of addressing the immigration situation from these countries without leaving space on the agenda to introduce changes to the existing visas, or to create new visas that favor access to talent, (aside from the tech visa).

United States Small Flag United States

The technology community is concerned about access to talent. Technology companies are widely critical of the annual limit placed on skilled foreign workers. In response, some large technology companies, many of which have a fintech affiliate or service, invest in lobbying efforts aimed at changing federal policy; others have created a coalition and are suing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

The UK is dealing with the challenges of exiting the EU, sector shortages and controlling migration. It is not unique in having to control migration however it is doing within challenging times particularly in a climate where 42% of employees in the tech sector are from outside the UK and 28% are from within the EEA.

The UK does have some measures in place to try to address sector shortages, it has a shortage occupation list of professions for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies in the UK.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is an advisory non-departmental body which advises the Government on migration issues. The MAC regularly reviews the list and calls for evidence of which occupations should be included or removed.

Jobs which fall on the shortage occupation list are exempt from the requirement to test the resident labour market and companies which hold a Tier 2 sponsor licence can apply to sponsor non-EEA migrants without having to first conduct a resident labour market test.

Tech Nation is a Government initiative which provides a network of growth programmes, events, skills and data resources to reach all corners and clusters of the UK.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) programme (mentioned above) is supported by Tech Nation as it is one of the designated competent bodies which reviews and assesses applications for endorsement under the Digital Tech sub-category. In addition, the Government increased the cap on the number of visas granted in this category (including those endorsed by other bodies such as the Arts Council England, The Royal Academy of Engineering etc) from 1,000 to 2,000 per annum.

Now more than ever, regulators in the UK need to continue to lobby the Government and push for the UK sector to remain at the forefront of the global fintech industry and achieve its goals of making the UK the best place to imagine, start and grow a digital business.

China Small Flag China

It does not appear that specific gaps have been identified, but China is still ramping up its intake of foreign talent. Further to the fast-track process for special categories of talent, on 1 August 2019, China’s National Immigration Administration (NIA) adopted 12 new and convenient immigration policies in relation to entry and exit matters for foreigners and their accompanying family members, which will further streamline the process for foreign workers, including in fintech, to come to China. The policies also offer substantial benefits beyond the process itself, e.g.:

  • Certain high-level and skilled foreign workers (such as scientific talent who may be involved in fintech) may obtain 5-year residence permits while certain others (such as those who have made significant contributions to China) may obtain 10-year residence permits.
  • Accompanying spouses and children (under the age of 18) of qualifying foreigners are also eligible for such residence permits.

Colombia Small Flag Colombia

Gaps in talent was the key element of pre-reform visa approval so it still is a valid and legitimate consideration in migration policy. Yet, however momentous, fintech industry is still and incipient industry with limited influence in policy and regulation.

UAE Small Flag UAE

The UAE has a well-established policy of encouraging access to new talent. It implements this policy by providing, inter alia, employment visas for long-term talent as well as mission visas for short-term talent required in the UAE. The UAE has reiterated on numerous occasions its policy of encouraging innovation in the fintech sector. It implemented changes to its immigration policy including the introduction of a six-month visa specifically for jobseekers.

Taiwan Small Flag Taiwan

Pursuant to the new law that took effect on February 8, 2018, the central competent authorities may announce that Taiwan is in need of special expertise in a particular area, and then prescribe the eligibility and required supporting documents for a foreign professional with such special expertise. Foreign professionals with special expertise are entitled to apply for a four-in-one Employment Golden Card, which combines work permit, resident visa, alien resident certificate (ARC), and re-entry permit. The Employment Golden Card allows foreign professionals to freely seek employment and change employer in Taiwan, and grants tax preferences to them. In order to attract financial sector professionals, the FSC has promulgated the requirements for foreign special professionals with financial expertise, including financial professionals in the fields of FinTech, e-Commerce, digital economy, technology management, green energy technologies, etc.

Denmark Small Flag Denmark

As mentioned earlier, an attractive tax-scheme has been made available to scientists and high paid workers. If the worker fulfil the criteria, the worker will only be taxed 32.84 % of his salary for the first seven years of work.

Immigration is generally a hot topic within Danish politics which is not easily influenced by specific sectors. However in order to accommodate tech based sectors, the Positive List, which is mentioned above, has been introduced to make access for employees in this type of sector easier.

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

As a rule, companies requiring specialists will receive the necessary work permits. There may be temporary gaps in certain cantons in particular for IT personnel if these do not qualify (and are not paid as) specialists. As there are a number of industries competing for this talent pool, the fintech industry does not have a special influence to obtain quotas. However, there are many Swiss and EU/EEA IT specialists available for which there are not obstacles to employ them.

Spain Small Flag Spain

Like so many other European countries, Spain recognizes the value of highly qualified or highly skilled professionals in the advancement of its industry. The fintech industry is not an exception and given the rapid rise in fintech investment and the great potential associated with its implementation, the fintech industry might have some impact in immigration policy.

However, although these measures are important, we must acknowledge that sometimes talent is closer than it seems. Therefore, initiatives such as the Regulators Pioneer Fund in the UK, the challenges prizes calling for solutions to fix social problems through technology and the type of networks created in other countries and inspirational are extremely interesting. Also, public funding supporting these kinds of initiatives is very much needed in these areas in order to keep at least local talent within borders.

Furthermore, we are in the age of collaboration and remaining as a one-man-band in this complex and brave new world does not seem to be a smart option. Therefore, innovative approaches and partnerships embracing diversity of skills and experience might be a short-term solution for the skills gap we are currently seeing.

Germany Small Flag Germany

The German legislator has indeed seen gaps in access to talent and therefore has recently passed a law that widens the access to the German labour market and will come into force on 1st of March 2020. It abolishes the priority review, which states the obligation to check for so-called preferred individuals for a vacancy.

South Korea Small Flag South Korea

We do not believe that there are such quotas systems/immigration caps in Korea yet.

Iceland Small Flag Iceland

There are no specific efforts being made to accommodate immigration policy to any developments in fintech or any shortages in talent in that area. To our knowledge there has not been any attempts by the fintech industry to influence immigration policy in Iceland.

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

The Fintech industry plays a highly important role in Portuguese immigration policy as explained above.

The proof of the importance of this area of business to our country is clearly defined by these new rules that have recently been created to encourage this type of investment to come to Portugal, debureaucratising and speeding up the request and issuance of residence visas and permits for this purpose.

India Small Flag India

At present, given that India has substantial labour surplus, there are no new guidelines/policies in pipeline in relation to entry of foreign nationals in India. The Indian government from time to time enters into agreements with other countries in order to bring about relaxed immigration guidelines for individuals from both the countries. Such relaxed guidelines typically include visa on arrival, medical and tourist visa relaxations. However, these agreements have not focused on any specific sector. Currently, the Indian FinTech sector does not seem to have any specific policies/guidelines in place.

Peru Small Flag Peru

There is no specific regulatory measure on the access to talent in this regard.

Israel Small Flag Israel

For the best of our knowledge regulators in Israel are not looking to fill gaps in access to talent in the fintech industry

The Netherlands Small Flag The Netherlands

We defer you to paragraph 11.

Japan Small Flag Japan

In order to promote entry of highly-skilled foreign professionals into Japan, the Immigration Bureau of Japan introduced the "Points-based System for Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals" in 2012. Pursuant to this system, a highly-skilled foreign professional can earn points depending on his/her academic background, work experience, annual income, age and other factors and, if such points reach the prescribed threshold, may be entitled to preferential treatment, including (i) permission for multiple activities during his/her stay in Japan, (ii) a five-year stay, (iii) relaxation of requirements for permanent residence permit, (iv) permission for his/her spouse to work in Japan and, (v) subject to certain conditions, permission for bringing his/her parents and domestic worker to Japan. It is expected that a bonus of 10 points will be granted to highly-skilled foreign professionals who work in a fintech company designated by the TMG.

Jersey Small Flag Jersey

We are not aware of any proposed changes to the immigration policy in respect of the fintech industry at present. However, as set out at question 11, Jersey welcomes talented individuals.

Separately, Jersey has built up a strong pool of blockchain expertise across the Island. There is now a wide group of talented individuals collaborating and advising in this area. Certain companies, including certain company administration providers, now also offer 'incubation' services. These 'incubation' services are designed to assist new businesses in the fintech arena, when they are starting up in Jersey, by providing an on the ground presence and even assistance in providing key personnel for various roles for an initial period (for example MLRO, MLCO etc.).

Carey Olsen would be happy to advise in relation to establishing a fintech operation on the island.

Liechtenstein Small Flag Liechtenstein

There is no direct influence of the fintech industry or its regulator on the immigration policy of Liechtenstein. However, if a given talent pool is depleted due to a number of industries competing for said talents, the aforementioned ‘strict’ immigration policy is flexible enough to allow the replenishment of the talent pool from any country in addition to Switzerland and the EEA.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

Yes; further to the above, under the FLL, foreign employees may be employed on a temporary basis if there are no Mexican employees available with the required skills in the understanding, however, Mexican employees must be trained to occupy permanently such position. To the extent the abovementioned ratio is not complied with, authorities may impose a fine. Please note that Mexican citizenship restrictions do not apply to chief executive officers, general managers or directors.

Luxembourg Small Flag Luxembourg

See answer to question 11.

Malta Small Flag Malta

The constantly-decreasing unemployment rate in Malta, which in July 2019 was at 3.4 per cent in the July 2018, may be a factor which may stress the access to talent in the fintech industry. Notwithstanding, the financial services industry generally is an important pillar of the Maltese economy. To this end, Maltese governments have always given the industry priority in policy formation over the years. The Government has noted that in the coming years Malta will need to significantly increase its workforce by attracting more foreign talent. To this end, Malta has implemented EU Directive 2014/66/EU regarding the Conditions of Entry and Residence of Third-Country Nationals in the Framework of an Intra-Corporate Transfer. This directive seeks to enable the secondment of non-EU key personnel who are already in employment with a group company, to work within another company throughout the EU. This will result in new skills, knowledge, innovation and enhanced economic opportunities for the host entities. Malta also offers attractive tax residency rules for highly qualified individuals and high-net-worth individuals. Provided certain conditions are met, a 15% flat rate of income tax on particular income streams may apply to such individuals.

Malaysia Small Flag Malaysia

Looking at the broad picture, access to talent seems to be a strong point when looking at Malaysia and the opportunity it presents international individuals and also aspiring locals. However, when we discuss the gaps in dealing with access to talent, Malaysia takes a broad step forward in continuing to innovate ideas on how to fill those gaps (If existent).

When we speak about the fintech industries contribution to Malaysia and its access to talent, it is rest assured that the country is aware of the upcoming popularity and its constant uprising in today’s world.

In collboration with SuperCharger, an Asian financial technology (fintech) accelerator, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) becomes the first university in Malaysia to offer undergraduate programmes related to fintech, to address the needs for talent development in this emerging industry. The launch of the programme was officiated through the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between APIIT Education Group chief executive officer Parmjit Singh and SuperCharger Fintech Accelerator Asia general manager Johnny Mayo.

The Bachelor in Banking and Finance with a special emphasis in Financial Technology is a three-year degree programme that aims to deliver technical knowledge and skills in handling digital banking and finance products and services. Specialised modules delivered through the programme include introduction on essentials of Fintech, Enabling Fintech, Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technologies, Crowdfunding and Alternative Lending, Fintech Governance, Risk Management & Compliance with the ability for the students to become entrepreneurs in fintech.

Under the collaboration between SuperCharger and APU, the APU SuperCharger Fintech Academy will also be established at APU, to facilitate the research and development in Fintech-related areas. SuperCharger will offer their assistance to students in realising their fintech startup ideas, encouraging them to be fintech entrepreneurs in the future. It is also anticipated that SuperCharger will continue to facilitate guest lectures at APU to expose students and staff towards this emerging industry. The Bachelor in Banking and Finance with a special emphasis in Financial Technology is expected to commence in February 2019.

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

As stated above, the stance taken by the Singapore Government is that it is supportive of entrepreneurship in Singapore, and its policies generally allow access to talent. As stated above, foreigners may work in Singapore – including in Singapore FinTech businesses – provided that they are issued a work pass by MOM.

Updated: November 11, 2019