This year, the Brussels office of immigration law firm Fragomen has been celebrating its 20th anniversary. When the bureau opened in 1999, it marked Fragomen’s first office outside of the US. Today, the firm has more than 50 offices internationally, and is the world’s largest and leading immigration services provider.
TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: FRAGOMEN
As managing partner of Fragomen’s Belgium office, attorney Jo Antoons is responsible for managing corporate immigration compliance and advisory work for the Benelux countries. Working with a wide range of clients – from small- and mid-sized companies, to individuals and multinational corporations – Antoons and her team implement cost-effective and efficient immigration solutions for both inbound and outbound moves.
“It’s natural for employers to want to attract the most talented professionals from around the world, and to be able to move personnel across borders,” says Antoons, whose knowledge of all aspects of global mobility – including social security and labour law requirements – gives her an informed and strategic view of immigration-based and cost containment solutions on behalf of her clients.
Jo Antoons, managing partner of Fragomen’s Brussels office, and Lance Kaplan, managing partner of Fragomen’s International Practice Group, at the celebration commemorating the firm’s 20th anniversary in Brussels.
Located in the heart of Europe, the team at Fragomen Brussels maintains a strong, close relationship with the EU institutions, providing companies with robust, tailor-made mobility strategies for Europe. The firm can also bring the needs and concerns of companies to European stakeholders. “We have very good government relationships and work hard to influence policy changes both at European and national levels,” explains Antoons.
While Fragomen’s clientele comes from a host of different arenas, more recently, Antoons has seen an increase in individual clients. These could be foreign startups attracted to the region’s business opportunities, for which Fragomen can assist in acquiring an entrepreneur visa, for example.
There is, of course, the issue of Brexit, which has given rise to British nationals, including those working at the EU institutions, seeking help to acquire Belgian citizenship. Antoons points out that the impact of Brexit will be even more complex from inside the EU, because of the need to navigate the various immigration and social security systems of the individual member states. “There are many variants and complexities,” she explains. “We work with companies to prepare for and overcome hurdles. We must ensure that it is business as usual for our clients.”