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Thought Leaders

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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader
WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Gunther Mävers is “one of the leaders in the German market” where he is considered to be “a favourite” for cross-border immigration and employment-related matters.

Questions & Answers

Dr Gunther Mävers, equity partner with michels.pmks Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB, registered employment law specialist and holder of a French law degree, is active in all fields of labour and employment law. Dr Mävers has accumulated considerable experience in the field of corporate immigration law and citizenship law. Having co-published one of the first commentaries dealing with business migration, he is a very well-known expert who also frequently gives lectures to law firms and lawyers. Dr Mävers speaks German, English and French.

What inspired you to pursue a legal career?

Having always loved language and thinking in a structured manner, with a great interest in politics and public interest, studying law was sort of logical to me. Since I like to work with others, focusing first on labour and employment law and then on global mobility was my first choice. Last but not least, I very much like the diversity of matters and the challenge of dealing with different kinds of matters for various clients at the same time.

What did you find most challenging about entering the field of corporate immigration law?

The complexity. When dealing with corporate immigration law matters, having a profound knowledge of corporate immigration law is only a starting point. In addition, one needs to know how these laws and regulations are applied in practice by the authorities. Moreover, being at least aware of the tax and social security consequences is required. Finally, time is always of the essence and you have to deal with the company and the assignee, both of them having high expectations.

How does your work as a lecturer and author enhance your work in private practice?

Every time I write an article or contribute to a book and every time I teach – be it to clients or other lawyers – I learn. I learn from preparing myself by updating my knowledge, but more importantly I learn from the questions asked by the audience and the discussion and interaction we have.

What qualities make for an effective immigration lawyer?

Knowledge of the laws and practice, together with fluency in English, flexibility and efficiency by always being on the lookout for pragmatic solutions is key to an effective immigration lawyer in my view.

What steps do the German immigration authorities need to take to ensure that processes are quicker and more effective in addressing the demand of businesses for skilled talent from abroad?

German authorities could certainly work on streamlining their processing in order to facilitate and accelerate the process. They could make better use of digitalisation and should consider the processing of the file a service they render to the community, businesses being desperately in need of talent to face the demographic development.

How has technology shaped the field of immigration law since you started practising?

Actually not much in my field of expertise and practice since we are not working on high-volume matters.

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

When I was a junior lawyer I got an invite to attend the 2nd Biennial Global Immigration Conference in London and not being sure whether I would go, I asked the partner in charge at the time who immediately approved my participation. This was the start of building my network; hence, to build a network is probably the best piece of career advice I can give.

Thought Leaders - Germany

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Biography

Dr Gunther Mävers, equity partner with michels.pmks Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB, registered employment law specialist and holder of a French law degree, is active in all fields of labour and employment law. Dr Mävers has accumulated considerable experience in the field of corporate immigration law and citizenship law. Having co-published one of the first commentaries dealing with business migration he is a very well-known expert, who also gives lectures frequently to law firms and lawyers. Dr Mävers speaks German, English and French.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER SPECIALISING IN CORPORATE IMMIGRATION AND EMPLOYMENT LAW?

I have always been interested in employment law, since my early studies at Cologne University and having spent time abroad (in France and Australia) to focus on international corporate immigration and employment law – so it was kind of logical. In particular, to work in a close collaboration with both the legal and the HR departments and their individual employees attracted me. Corporate immigration and employment law is a people business where you interact a lot with individuals rather than just reviewing files.

WHAT IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE CURRENTLY FACING CORPORATE IMMIGRATION PRACTITIONERS IN GERMANY?

The greatest challenge we currently face is probably the slowness of the authorities that cannot keep up to speed with the increasing demand from businesses to hire skilled talent from abroad.

WHAT IMPACT HAVE GLOBAL GEOPOLITICAL ISSUES SUCH AS BREXIT AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S APPROACH HAD ON YOUR PRACTICE?

The impact of both the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and the election of Trump is huge and we can see an increasing interest of companies in investing in Germany, as well as of individuals migrating to Germany or naturalising.

HOW HAS THE INCREASINGLY RESTRICTIVE APPROACH FROM THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT REGARDING LOCAL EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION AFFECTED CLIENT DEMANDS?

The increasing level of regulation combined with the backlog of processing applications makes it more and more difficult for companies to sufficiently staff the projects they are working on for their clients in Germany. There is a clear trend for localisation, in terms of establishing subsidiaries in Germany and employing individuals locally on the basis of an employment contract subject to German laws and jurisdiction, as this facilitates migration to Germany. Moreover, the authorities have just started to take a closer look at the conditions of employment – in particular with regard to overtime, compensation for overtime and vacation – before consenting to grant a work permit.

HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE REVISION OF THE EU POSTED WORKERS DIRECTIVE WILL IMPACT CORPORATE IMMIGRATION IN GERMANY?

The trend towards localisation is very well reflected by the recent revision of the EU Posted Workers Directive, according to which, in the case of assignments to Germany, the local laws and applications will fully apply after 12 months (or in exceptional cases, after 18 months). Hence, it will be more difficult for companies established in another member state to bypass the local laws and regulations in the case of assignments.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS LOOKING TO ESTABLISH A CAREER IN THE FIELD?

The best advice I can probably give from my own experience is to focus and specialise on an area of law – and, given that global mobility is quite likely to increase, corporate migration is likely to remain a hot potato for many years. To have an employment law background is certainly not only helpful, but can also generate additional business opportunities that a practitioner solely practising corporate migration would miss.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOP OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

We would very much like to see our practice develop further by way of organic growth, on the one hand, but also by way of collateral hires by strengthening the boutique character. We see a trend in which international corporate immigration and employment matters are not dealt with by the big firms as much as in the past, and we are ready and prepared to take over that piece of the cake.

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET FOR SUCCESS?

Looking back, to have always published a lot seems to have helped me to build a very solid knowledge of the laws and regulations in my area of practice. Moreover, to have started in a large firm environment, and to get involved in conferences on a global scale from the very beginning, certainly helped. The rest has probably been a bit of luck – being introduced to many colleagues from the corporate migration scene whom I now call friends, and chasing opportunities when they have presented themselves.

Global Leader

Corporate Immigration 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Gunther Mävers is “one of the leaders in the German market” where he is considered to be “a favourite” for cross-border immigration and employment-related matters.

Biography

Dr Mävers is equity partner with michels.pmks Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB, a boutique law firm with eight lawyers (with no less than seven labour lawyers) based in Cologne and operating throughout Germany. michels.pmks is well connected nationally and internationally. In cross-border cases, we work with carefully selected international partners that we have known personally for many years.

Dr Mävers, registered employment law specialist, is also a founding partner of the firm. Since the beginning of his law career, he has been active in all fields of labour and employment law. Among his specialisation is the legal assistance of international companies, especially from the Anglo-American world, concerning cross-border matters with all the related labour law issues. Thanks to his worldwide network of independent partners, Mr Mävers also coordinates labour law matters labour for clients abroad together with foreign counsel. Amongst others he consults companies from the IT and automotive sectors.

Beyond that, Dr Mävers has accumulated considerable experience in the field of corporate immigration law and citizenship law. He is also a board member of Visalaw International as well as a board and global member of the Alliance of Global Business Immigration Lawyers and regularly speaks at the sessions of the immigration and nationality law committee of the International Bar Association, where he has been appointed chair.

Dr Mävers speaks German, English and French.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Gunther Mävers is an exceptional labour and employment lawyer who gains recognition for his impressive work with international companies regarding cross-border issues.

Biography

Dr Mävers is equity partner with michels.pmks Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB, a boutique law firm with eight lawyers (and no less than six labour lawyers) based in Cologne and operating throughout Germany. Michels.pmks is well connected nationally and internationally. In cross-border cases, the firm works with carefully selected international partners that they have known personally for many years.

Dr Mävers, registered employment law specialist and holder of a French law degree, is also a founding partner of the firm. Since the beginning of his law career, he has been active in all fields of labour and employment law. Areas of specialisation include the legal assistance of international companies, especially from the Anglo-American world, in cross-border matters and all related labour law issues. Thanks to his worldwide network of independent partners, Mr Mävers also coordinates labour law matters for clients abroad, together with foreign counsel. He consults companies from, among others, the IT, leisure and automotive sectors.

Dr Mävers has accumulated considerable experience in the field of corporate immigration law and citizenship law. Having co-published one of the first commentaries dealing with business migration, he is also a very well-known expert, frequently giving lectures to law firms and lawyers. He is a board member of Visalaw International, and a board and global member of the Alliance of Global Business Immigration Lawyers. He regularly speaks at sessions of the International Bar Association’s immigration and nationality law committee, where he served as chair (2015–2016). He is a council member and treasurer of the Global Employment Institute.

Dr Mävers speaks German, English and French.

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