Marcel Reurs has been practising Dutch and EU immigration law for over 23 years. His broad practice includes the full range of business immigration work for corporate clients across the globe. Annually listed in WWL, he is now ranked among the 10 most influential immigration attorneys in Europe.
How have the immigration needs of clients changed since you started practising?
Many things have changed in this regard, but I believe the most notable change compared to when I started in 1995 is the need for short-term assignments. When I started, it was quite common for employees to be transferred for an assignment of two to three years, and often they would stay, convert to local employment and apply for permanent residence – but this is now becoming more exceptional, and it is getting more common for employees to stay for just four to eight months.
What is the most memorable case you have been a part of?
There have been many memorable cases over the years. A case I will always remember is one of our first major corporate immigration cases, dating from around 1997, resulting from a merger where we had to transfer dozens of managers and skilled workers from a US company to the Dutch company they had taken over. At that time, volume-based work was not as common as it is today. All applications had to be hand-drafted, and we were working around the clock to meet deadlines.
What qualities make for an effective corporate immigration lawyer?
We all have our strengths and weaknesses and to become effective, you need to make sure that the people you work with add to your strengths and support your weaknesses. Generally, I would say that you need to understand that immigration is not a purpose in itself, but a means to an end. You must understand the client’s intentions and ambitions when moving to another country, and seek to find the immigration solution that fits. In the day-to-day work, I believe my effectiveness lies in finding direct lines of communication and personal contact with clients and officials, always with the goal of finding effective solutions quickly. I maintain good working relationships with the relevant government agencies and solve issues by discussion with the authorities, rather than in court.
Which jurisdictions are particularly active at the moment in terms of business migration?
The latest comprehensive comparative I saw on this was McKinsey’s report on global migration’s impact and opportunity, showing India as the top origin country, followed by Mexico, Russia and China. The US is the top destination country, followed by Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UK. The report is very insightful. It’s from November 2016, but I don’t think the trends and rankings it describes will have changed significantly.
What do you enjoy most about working in corporate immigration?
What makes it most rewarding is the interaction with clients and colleagues. We invest in maintaining long-standing relations with clients, with our international colleagues in the IBA/AILA global migration section network. There is a high level of cooperation between corporate immigration attorneys in these networks, several of whom I have been working with for over two decades and they have become good friends. In the day-to-day-work, I enjoy the interaction between immigration law and other areas, such as employment law, corporate law and tax law. In recent years, I have developed a particular interest in the immigration aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate restructurings.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?
This is a very exciting question, because the future of our practice area will obviously depend on how international business and workforce mobility will evolve. An important question is how the ability for an employee to carry out their work from literally any place and at any time will decrease the need to move abroad. Perhaps it will even increase the desire to move abroad.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest achievement, which I share with my close co-workers Bram van Melle and Kirsty Gies, is that we have been successful in building a close-knit team that is committed to, and striving for, excellence in our corporate practice.
Marcel Reurs stands out for his “years of experience” in corporate immigration. He offers clients excellent handling of immigration issues in connection with mergers and acquisitions.
Marcel is a partner and co-head of the firm’s corporate immigration practice. He brings over 24 years’ experience across all immigration routes with a particular emphasis on employment-related and business-related categories, including but not limited to 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 editor-in-chief of Journal on Immigration Law. He has developed 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 national and international conferences.
A partner since 2002, Marcel is the current executive chair of the firm’s board. He is an active member of the International Bar Association and an active international associate with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, where he is a member of the Steering Committee. He is a member of the Dutch specialist associations for immigration attorneys, SVMA and WRV.