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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Bettina Offer

Bettina Offer

Offer & MastmannAugust-Schanz-Str. 28Frankfurt am MainGermany60433

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader
Thought Leaders - Germany

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Biography

Bettina is the founding partner of Offer & Mastmann, the German boutique firm for corporate immigration. She has more than 18 years’ experience advising corporate clients from all industries. Her firm successfully handles large-volume employee migration schemes, as well as the occasional immigration application of small and medium-sized enterprises. Bettina is an active lecturer and author, and participates in the public debate about a new German corporate immigration law.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN CORPORATE IMMIGRATION?

When I changed from corporate law to immigration law in 2005, corporate immigration was non-existent in Germany. Since then, we have seen many changes and developments. Being one of the first practitioners to concentrate solely on corporate immigration provides the opportunity to help shape this new field of law – a lawyer’s dream come true! I enjoy the professional exchange with HR departments and consultations by lawmakers at a time when employee migration becomes an essential factor in a globalised economy. And it thrills me to keep the process as lean and simple for my clients as possible – circumnavigating administrative roadblocks.

HOW HAS THE MARKET CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED PRACTISING?

Initially, immigration was, for my clients, an occasional case of a single CEO or specialist. During that time, clients wanted a detailed roadmap and were willing to pay hourly rates for a seven-page report. Of course, we still have that, but nowadays the larger clients maintain schemes that have several hundred employees coming to Germany every year. They want the operative support in the application process and expect service-level agreements covering legal as well as management aspects of the work. Billing is based on flat fees and the process of migration is highly structured. It is our aim to combine high-quality legal expertise – which guides the client on compliance – with present-day management tools. Client seminars are a welcome add-on.

WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES CURRENTLY FACING CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAWYERS IN GERMANY?

We are experiencing an administration that never planned to cover the large numbers of immigration applications, and is in part so overstretched that it is nearly collapsing. Applications that were simple three years ago are now complicated and time-consuming, even though the law remains unchanged. We also see an upcoming relocation industry illegally providing legal advice of foul quality, with untrained personnel beating down the pricing and providing added stress for authorities. Clients can only tell the difference when it is too late. This is an unfortunate development.

WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE WHEN SETTING UP YOUR OWN FIRM?

Coming from Baker & McKenzie and Ashurst with full-service support, it was a challenge to be responsible for everything – from installing IT to watering the office plants. Most of that I can now delegate, as our firm has grown. The current challenges are the development, implementation and maintenance of internal processes to answer the service-level demands of our clients on one side, and decreasing quality at authority level due to an increase in refugees, which is putting extra strain on administrative resources.

HOW DOES OFFER & MASTMANN DISTINGUISH ITSELF FROM COMPETITORS?

Offer & Mastmann provides high-quality legal advice in corporate immigration combined with the service levels required to deliver results for large corporate clients. We have a strong operations team, which enables us to handle large migration schemes but also represent our clients and their interests at the law-making authorities. Due to our numerous publications and seminars, Offer & Mastmann is renowned in Germany as  a specialist for corporate immigration. We want to help our clients get the permit to employ the foreign employee of their choice, as quickly as possible and always in compliance with the law.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

The German economy is growing and in good shape while qualified employees become scarce. In response, the German government has announced a complete renewal of the corporate immigration laws for 2019. Thus we expect growing demand from our clients during this time of uncertainty due to the multiple legal changes. We expect fees to reflect the increasing difficulties. Competitors who are unfamiliar with the new laws may run into compliance issues. All in all, we expect corporate immigration to become more important for our clients in the near future.

WHAT DEVELOPMENTS ARE YOU SEEING IN HOW YOUR CLIENTS APPROACH IMMIGRATION ISSUES?

We see a lot of fluctuation among our clients when it comes to the departments responsible for corporate immigration issues. There seems to be a trend to outsource global mobility/HR and have procurement choose the immigration provider – often paying more attention to pricing than to quality (aka, compliance). Corporate immigration is not just about the visa – it is about the whole application process that needs to be compliant. Many clients underestimate the loss of valuable know-how due to outsourcing. In our daily work, we experience how important a good contact at the client is for the attorney–client relationship. 

Global Leader

Corporate Immigration 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Bettina Offer is highly regarded by peers and clients alike for her “outstanding expertise and guidance”, with sources noting that they “very much value the experience and best practices she and the firm offer”.

Biography

Bettina Offer is a founding partner of Offer & Mastmann, the first German law firm that specialises exclusively in corporate and business immigration law.

Ms Offer received her legal education with distinction at the Universities of Giessen (Germany) and Warwick (UK), and holds an LLM degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (USA). Called to the Bar in 2000, she acquired her understanding for complex business transactions as an associate with Baker & McKenzie and Ashurst. In 2005, she joined Gabriele Mastmann and specialised in German inbound business immigration law, becoming an acclaimed expert in the field. She is a member of the IBA, the AILA and the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL). In 2019, Ms Offer has been appearing as an expert at the hearing for the new skilled migration law at the German parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs and Community.

In past years, Ms Offer has gained an exceptional expertise in the development and implementation of compliant immigration processes and strategies for clients with high-volume intra-company transfer schemes. The majority of her clients are active in the automotive, chemical and IT industry as well as relocation agencies.

Ms Offer also focuses on the legislative and political development of German immigration law and, as such regularly lectures on the topic at national and international conferences and panels, such as the IBA’s biennial global immigration conferences; the German Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA); the KBW Berlin; Bertelsmannstiftung; and the Ministry of the Interior. She is initiator and co-editor of the Practitioners Guide on Corporate Immigration Law (Oxford University Press, 2012) and the first commentary on German corporate immigration law BeschV (CH Beck 2016). She recently contributed a chapter to the Handbook on Migration and Integration (CH Beck 2018).

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Bettina Offer provides "excellent expertise and guidance as a lawyer". She is "on top of any changes, and is very organised and responsive".

Biography

Bettina Offer is a founding partner of Offer & Mastmann, the first German law firm that specialises exclusively in corporate and business immigration law.

Ms Offer received her legal education with distinction at the Universities of Giessen (Germany) and Warwick (UK), and holds an LLM degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (USA). Called to the Bar in 2000, she acquired her understanding for complex business transactions as an associate with Baker & McKenzie and Ashurst. In 2005, she joined Gabriele Mastmann and specialised in German inbound business immigration law, becoming an acclaimed expert in the field. She is a member of the IBA, the AILA and the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL). In 2019, Ms Offer has been appearing as an expert at the hearing for the new skilled migration law at the German parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs and Community.

In past years, Ms Offer has gained an exceptional expertise in the development and implementation of compliant immigration processes and strategies for clients with high-volume intra-company transfer schemes. The majority of her clients are active in the automotive, chemical and IT industry as well as relocation agencies.

Ms Offer also focuses on the legislative and political development of German immigration law and, as such regularly lectures on the topic at national and international conferences and panels, such as the IBA’s biennial global immigration conferences; the German Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA); the KBW Berlin; Bertelsmannstiftung; and the Ministry of the Interior. She is initiator and co-editor of the Practitioners Guide on Corporate Immigration Law (Oxford University Press, 2012) and the first commentary on German corporate immigration law BeschV (CH Beck 2016). She recently contributed a chapter to the Handbook on Migration and Integration (CH Beck 2018).

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