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Berlin to go, english edition, 03/2017

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SERVICE SAFE ARRIVAL The Business Immigration Service helps international talent acquire visas and found companies in Berlin The red sofas in the waiting room are inviting, the rooms are bright and the employees greet their clients with a smile; at the new Business Immigration Service (BIS) at the Ludwig Erhard Haus, everyone is made to feel welcome right away. People from all over the world come here: IT professionals from India and Korea, young founders from the United States and university professors from Brazil with their partners and children. Between these people and their new job lies what feels like a mountain of application forms. But there’s no need to worry or complain, the BIS makes it possible for international talent from non-EU countries to finish all the annoying paperwork within five days and have their visa and work permit in their pocket in no time. One of these people is Matthew Kim, CPO at the Berlin fintech company builder FinLeap. Up until a few months ago, he worked as the founder and CTO of a data company in Toronto, Canada. After receiving an attractive offer from FinLeap to live and work in Berlin, he made the decision to leave Canada and move to Germany. “I decided to come to Berlin since it’s becoming a hotbed for startups in Europe.” Matthew’s new employer contacted Berlin Partner, who examined his case and sent a letter to the “Ausländerbehörde” (Foreign Persons Office) on behalf of the young Canadian. Matthew’s visa process is already history, and nothing more than a pleasant memory: “The Business Immigration Service made the visa process quick and painless.” The fact that the service works so well is also due to the unique combination of Berlin authorities involved in facilitating the arrival international talent, including the Ausländerbehörde, Berlin Partner, the IHK Berlin, the Berlin Senate Department for Business, Energy and Enterprises and the District Office of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. After a satellite of the Ausländerbehörde moved into the Ludwig Erhard Haus in the summer, all bodies are now under one roof. Today, the service is becoming increasingly popular: more than 550 companies, universities and scientific institutes took regular advantage of the BIS in 2016. In the past two years, the number of companies receiving assistance from the Ausländerbehörde rose by roughly 60% and the number of applications increased by around 40%. Berlin Partner helps investors and companies acquire visas for international professionals as quickly as possible. In 2016, 230 companies used the service. In comparison to 2014, that’s an increase of roughly 110%. Most young talent are IT experts from North America (29%) followed by Asia (25%) and Europe (19%). The IHK Berlin assists founders from abroad who want to start a business in Berlin. They assist in the application process of foreign founders by checking business plans and providing expert assessments to the Ausländerbehörde. Individuals who find themselves on the red sofas can look forward to a quick visa application process: the District Office of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is also represented here on the 6th floor of the Ludwig Erhard Haus. In other words, foreign professionals can also register their apartments here immediately, too. Text: Christin Berges »The Business Immigration Service made the visa process quick and painless.« Photo: Berlin Partner/Peter-Paul Weiler 22

The strong need for IT experts is reflected not only in the numbers of international professionals assisted by Berlin Partner at the Business Immigration Service; it’s also on everybody’s lips in Berlin. In order to keep up with demand, the project “Tech in the City” networks companies, associations, the Agentur für Arbeit/Jobcenter (Germany’s Employment Agency) and potential employees to provide information on entry opportunities, internships, traineeships and retraining offers in the digital economy. Startup safaris are one of the many opportunities to get to know the major actors in Berlin’s digital economy. On these tours, advisors from the Agentur für Arbeit and Jobcenter meet personal digital businesses interested in hiring IT professionals so as to find out exactly what the companies are looking for. It’s a win-win situation for both sides, with companies gaining access to interested tech talent, and consultants, in turn, gaining not only a clearer picture of the professions out there, but also simultaneously gathering good arguments to raise enthusiasm for jobs in the digital economy. Tech in the City is also touring Berlin in a similar way with potential employees, such as refugees, graduates, jobseekers and people looking to make a change. The goal is to give these people deeper insights into the digital and startup scene. People who are interested in switching professions can test out their potential new job at so-called Coding Weekends and online marketing “taster” courses. Tech in the City is a project organized by DCI/ Devugees in cooperation with, BIT- KOM, SIBB, Berlin Partner, the Purple Squirrel Society, the Bundesagentur für Arbeit as well as several Berlin-based Internet companies, including sofatutor, Kayak, Babbel, Betterplace, ReBuy, Modomoto, and many more. 23

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