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?
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.
As discussed above, the SEZ was formed specifically to encourage businesses, particularly in the fintech space, to establish a physical presence in the Cayman Islands.
We expect that the advent of the CySEC Innovation Hub (see above) should have a positive impact on the relocation of regional talent to Cyprus.
In respect of non-EU migration, a Cyprus start-up visa scheme has recently been approved with a view to encourage foreign investments from non-EU countries in the fields of innovation and research and development (R&D). The founder of the start-up would be eligible to apply should it be an individual start-up, or alternatively in the case of a group start-up up to five persons are eligible to apply (one founder and senior executives). The relevant investors must have a start-up capital of at least EUR50.000 and an innovative business or business plan must be in place. An innovative business would be one where the R&D cost forms at least 10% of the operating costs in at least one of the three years of its operation prior to the application. The business headquarters, as well as control and management must take place in Cyprus.
The Danish Financial sector, like in most other countries, have a concern for lack of people with sufficient IT capabilities. According to the Danish Ministry of Business, the demand for IT-specialists will increase, and Denmark will be in shortage of approximately 19,000 workers with STEM-competencies (Sci-ence, Technology, Engineering and Math) in 2030.
Danish regulators are very attentive to any gaps identified in the digital and financial sectors and try to mitigate the gaps by way of agile regulation, edu-cational promotion, creating hubs, and creating political awareness. Further-more, the Danish government is constantly trying to ensure that Denmark is an attractive workplace for foreign IT-specialists and other highly skilled and educated work forces.
As described above, Finland has recently taken steps towards improving access to talents by amending immigration laws. There are no major gaps in access to talent, and, therefore, there are no legislative proposals currently being discussed which would aim to improve access to talent. As the Startup Permit was introduced only recently, Finnish legislators and authorities will most likely want to see the results before initiating any new projects.
The fintech industry may influence the immigration policy in particular through labour market organisations, which have overall a big impact on the policies Finland.
There are no immigration rules (different from those for all foreign workers) which would help or hinder access to talent for through fintech in France to our knowledge.
The immigration policy is hardly influenced by the FinTech industry in general. Im-migration policy in Germany is focused mainly on dealing with asylum seekers. Re-lated to this subject some changes in regulation are under discussion, also with re-gard to some facilitations to asylum seekers who are qualified for the labour market and already found a new employment.
The constantly decreasing unemployment rate in Malta, which went down to 0.9 per cent in the first quarter of 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 which are already in employment with a group company, to work within another company throughout the EU. This will result in new skills and 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.
In light of the success of Israeli entrepreneurs, it is hard to say that there is a gap in talent in the Israeli market and therefore the Israeli regulators are not looking to fill any such gap. The hi-tech industry does have some influence on policy in light of its importance to the Israeli economy, but we do not see it currently influencing Israel’s immigration policy.
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.
Per the FLL, with respect to technical and professional employees, employees have to be Mexican citizens, but foreign employees may be employed on a temporary basis if there are no Mexican employees available with the required skills for the position, in which case: (i) the employer may temporarily employ foreign workers in a proportion not exceeding 10% of those with such skills; and (ii) Mexican employees must be trained to permanently occupy that position.
There is no specific provision in the FLL requiring to file a report disclosing the proportion between Mexican and foreign employees. However, the labour authorities may impose a fine to the company for not complying with the provisions set forth in Article 7 of the FLL.
Mexican citizenship restrictions do not apply to chief executive officers, or general managers or directors.
British Virgin Islands
There are discussions underway on ways in which the regulatory environment might be optimised to attract fintech business to the BVI. At present, given that there is not yet widespread proliferation of fintechs with physical operations in the BVI, it is yet to be seen how the industry could impact immigration policy. We are however aware that Government is keen to facilitate the establishment of a substantive fintech industry and anticipate steps being taken shortly to support such establishment.
SSEK: Regulators in Indonesia do not currently seem to have any issues with possible talent gaps in the fintech sector. As such, there have been no actions taken by regulators in this regard.
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 in order 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.
The technology community generally in the US has been critical of restrictions on access to skilled foreign workers. Some tech companies have sued the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services arguing its policy memo infringes the authority of the Department of Labor. While big tech companies consume the lion's share of these foreign skilled worker visas, the sector appears to have little impact on US immigration policy.
The UAE has a well-established policy of encouraging access to new talent. It implements this policy by providing, among others, employment visas for long-term talent as well as mission visas for short-term (less than 90 days) talent required in the UAE. The UAE has reiterated on numerous occasions its policy of encouraging innovation in the fintech sector. It recently implemented changes to its immigration policy including the introduction of a six-month visa specifically for jobseekers.
Ukraine has its own software development schools, on particular, for the fintech industry, as well as a significant number of accelerators, incubators and boot camps. Thus, at the present moment the fintech in Ukraine does not experience a significant shortage of human resources of low and middle levels and does not need the support of regulators.
At the same time, the great number of the professionals of the senior level often agree to move to another jurisdiction where much higher incomes are available (first of all in the USA). This outflow of the highly-qualified professionals is recognised by the regulators, however, no unified and sufficient measures are not currently taken on the governmental level.
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 which 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.
Immigration policy is not a topic which is paid significant attention by regulators in India as the country has a significant labour surplus. The domestic fintech industry does not seem to have sought any specific changes to the immigration policy in India.
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.
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.
As far as we know, such a gap does no appear to be present in The Netherlands. The aforementioned accelerated migration procedure is praised for facilitating fintechs with highly skilled migrants.
The most famous program to introduce and attract high level talents to serve in China is the central government initiated ‘Thousand Talents Program’ (“TTP”). TTP includes long term talent programs, short term talent programs, entrepreneur programs, youth programs, foreign expert programs, top-tier talents and innovative teams, Tibet and Xinjiang programs, and culture & art talent programs. Talents selected in the TTP receive tax-free national funds for their research, and their compensation will be free of individual income tax.
In addition, the local government usually will also provide additional incentive to facilitate the talents under the TTP, or to support local talents programs.
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.
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.