Marcel Reurs has been practising Dutch and EU immigration law for over 24 years. His practice includes the full range of business immigration work for corporate clients across the globe. Marcel is a partner with Everaert Advocaten, a law firm exclusively dedicated to immigration and nationality law.
What are the key challenges that the next generation of corporate immigration lawyers may face?
Historically, corporate immigration has been able to rely on the premise that “going to work” means “going to your place of work” and working abroad means you physically must go there. Covid-19 has forced companies to rethink and question that premise as most countries urged people to work from their homes and international travel almost came to a halt. We have seen that technology has allowed for this, especially in skilled jobs. I anticipate that what has happened under covid-19 will encourage companies to further rethink and question whether skilled workers need to move abroad in the high volumes that we’ve seen in the past two decades, or whether those workers are able to carry out work remotely, from their home country office or even from their homes, especially in those cases where being in a different time zone is not an obstacle. Currently, this question is driven by health reasons and entry bans, but in the future, this could also be driven by costs. As skilled jobs are the core of corporate immigration practice, this also forces our sector to rethink its services.
What type of matters are clients currently seeking advice on most frequently and why?
“Can I enter?” and “can I leave?” are the most frequently asked questions since March of this year, when the EU closed the Schengen external borders for visitors from outside the EU, allowing very limited exceptions. Whether they qualify to enter under these exceptions has been the number one question for most of our clients. Certain countries did not allow any travellers in, including their own nationals, so we also had quite a few clients whose employees were unable to return to their home country. Further, Brexit remains a hot topic as we are getting closer to 31 December 2020, the end of the transition period.
What developments in your jurisdiction should foreign practitioners be following and why?
The developments regarding the EU/Schengen entry ban are essential for global mobility practitioners.
What measures have the authorities in the Netherlands introduced to tackle the covid-19 crisis? Have they adapted their approach to immigration?
Our government’s approach has been, and remains to be, aimed at keeping the virus under control, to protect the physically vulnerable and the capacity of our healthcare system. This has resulted in very basic rules the government recommends that we follow such as social distancing (1.5 metres), personal hygiene, working from home and self-quarantine. The latter is urgently recommended rather than legally obliged, and the authorities do not check on people nor do they give penalties. You can be fined if you violate the 1.5 metres requirement in a public space. Public events involving larger audiences or crowds are prohibited or restricted. In terms of aid, the government has launched the temporary emergency scheme for job retention (NOW) and the temporary self-employment income support and loan scheme (TOZO). Under the NOW, employers who anticipate losing at least 20 per cent in turnover can claim a grant towards wage costs to a maximum of 90 per cent and under TOZO, self-employed people who have suffered a loss of revenue can apply for financial support.
What do you predict will be the long-term impacts of the pandemic on corporate immigration?
Apart from the obvious impact on economy, I believe it can set a long-term trend where companies will be considering whether it is necessary for employees to travel abroad for work, or if technological solutions will allow for the work to be carried out remotely in their home country.
What can younger lawyers be doing to make a name for themselves in the corporate immigration market?
I believe you should not focus on making a name for yourself. In the legal profession, your best clients are attracted by word of mouth, via the clients you have served. You should focus on your performance rather than establishing your name.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
The advice I now give to my kids: travel and see the world! I should’ve travelled more when I was younger. With the current developments, I can only hope that that my children will be able to go and travel without too many restrictions.
“Marcel is the best of the best"
"He is very experienced, a great communicator and is revered in the industry”
“He is one of the best attorneys in the Netherlands and is always extremely responsive to clients”
Marcel is a partner and co-head of the firm’s corporate immigration practice. He brings over 25 years’ experience across all immigration routes with an emphasis on employment-related categories, including highly-skilled migrant, intra-corporate transfer, European Blue Card and the self-employed and investor categories. He has significant experience in handling immigration aspects of mergers and acquisitions and other corporate restructuring, compliance with sponsor duties and cross-border service provision involving the posting of workers with customers in the EU.
Marcel’s clients range from long-established international companies across the globe in need of high-volume application work to start-up companies and entrepreneur-investors.
Marcel is a contributing co-editor to the leading commentary on the Dutch Immigration Act, chief of the editorial board and case annotator to Jurisprudence on Immigration Law, the Dutch immigration jurisprudence series and former editor-in-chief of Journal on Immigration Law. He teaches the Dutch Bar Association’s course on immigration law for trainee attorneys and served the Ministry of Justice as an expert adviser in the immigration policy reform, ‘Modern Migration Policies’. Marcel regularly speaks at conferences.
A partner since 2002, Marcel is the current chair of the firm. He is a member of the International Bar Association, an international associate with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a member of the Dutch specialist associations for immigration attorneys, SVMA and WRV.