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BlogHow technology enables global expansion
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How Technology Enables Global Expansion

Expanding into new and foreign markets is a complex enough undertaking without worrying about your technological systems. Since many nations in developing and emerging markets are still relatively immature technologically, companies need to know that their ICT can be relied upon to support their business, no matter what the industryEighty-one percent of companies consider technological progress the main factor of change for the next 5 years, while 50 percent of the world’s leading manufacturing companies invest in IT applications and infrastructure to help them be more flexible and agile. Technological change reshaping business growth and expansion will only intensify as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and cyber-physical systems take the digital revolution to another level. So it is to technology that companies must turn to help them overcome the challenges of expanding in new markets. Technology in its fullest understanding is the capability that leads to outcomes, whether tangible or intangible. For this to happen, typically, certain skills and procedures are required. Early advances in human history are closely associated with technological progress, specifically with the history of energy. Yet, it was the dawn of the printing press towards the end of the Middle Ages which spurred the Renaissance, and which eventually led to the first recognizable techno-economic revolution of the modern age. Better known as the Industrial Revolution, this era was characterized by the mechanization of the cotton industry and the construction of canals, waterways, waterwheels, and turnpike roads. Since then, certain key trends associated with technological progress became clear:The size and footprint of technologies continue to increase beyond imagination, proven by bigger container ships and airplanes, higher buildings and dam walls, and space-age scientific experiments like the International Space Station, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and the Large Hadron Collider. Technology also becomes smaller and increasingly manifests at nanoscale. Think about gene sequencing and its applications in the medical and agricultural industries;Every technology epoch is characterized by a different principle of operation. A sequence of capabilities can be conceived of, starting with manual effort, followed in sequence by fire, speech and art, mechanics, steam, electricity, internal combustion, electronics, mechatronics, and lately characterized by the convergence of neurotech, biotech, infotech and nanotech;Technology becomes more accurate and efficient. From the crude capabilities of stone tools to the pinpoint accuracy of a laser, of GPS navigation and digital capabilities in general, there is steady progress in accuracy and efficiency;Technology becomes increasingly complex, and understanding thereof less accessible to the layperson; andDue to the conflation of these characteristics, technology also becomes more expensive, yet more omnipresent.HOW TECHNOLOGY ENABLES GLOBAL EXPANSIONFuture-focused leaders, in conclusion, strife to become technology-fluid. This means they attend to the following priorities:They realize that technology is all-pervasive and powerful and that the current transition to robotics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing requires them to render technology a top priority on their governance and oversight agendas;They actively pursue strategies to ensure that their technology assets have been sourced responsibly, that the workings thereof respect the privacy and dignity of all living things inasmuch as environmental health, and that once retired these technologies are fed back into the recycling streams representative of their industries;They evaluate technology and technology innovation proposals for their relevance, appropriateness, and functionality, with relevance interrogating immediacy of need and of utility value, with appropriateness interrogating fitness for purpose, and with functionality interrogating outcomes with efficiency and sustainability gains; andThey pursue Integrated Reporting in order to inform all stakeholders of their attention to detail, inclusive of technology impacts, and they remain conscious of immediate technology priorities, such as the need for digital governance, focusing on social media strategies, thorough data and privacy protection principles and practices, and exploration of data monetization strategies.The global solutions offered by technology can be exactly what your company needs to expand internationally and by choosing the right technology tools to power your global expansion, you’ll soon find the world is at your fingertips.Discover how our 20 years of experience in global markets can help your organization seamlessly integrate new locations into your infrastructure HERE 

Apr 15, 2021
Blog“Powerful” Investment opportunities in Japan
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“Powerful” Investment Opportunities In Japan

The energy market in Japan has some of the biggest investment market potentials in the Asia Pacific region. Their robust grid infrastructure, renewable goals, and significant capacity demonstrate that additional value already exists. The ability to invest in renewable energy assets in Japan—and thus to contribute to the country’s energy transition—also presents a significant opportunity for long-term capital from around the globe. Notably, a recent study has shown that Japan can create 67,000 new jobs by investing in domestic renewable energy projects by 2030. This would be a positive step as countries seek to rebuild their economies in the wake of COVID-19—and potentially catalyze a movement toward investment-led growth. In the aftermath of the devastating March 2011 East Japan Earthquake and resulting nuclear crisis, the Japanese government was forced to radically overhaul its long-term energy strategy. Following the crisis, Japan made the unavoidable decision to shut down all of its 54 nuclear power plants (which prior to the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns accounted for more than 30% of its power supply) and drag dozens of thermal plants out of mothballs to compensate. This sudden jump back to a dependence on fossil fuels may have been a big boost for “Big Energy” companies, but it represented a pronounced about-face from where Japan aspired to be in terms of clean energy. Fortunately, it also triggered a grassroots movement strongly in favor of safer, renewable energy technologies and vehemently opposed to any return to a reliance on nuclear power. It has taken nearly a decade for the government to come around, however it looks like 2021 could very well be the year that Japan truly earns its spot at number 12 on the 2019 “Environmental Performance Index,” right behind The Netherlands. While considered to be “on the greener side of green” when it comes to environmental policies, Japan’s long-term relationship with nuclear power has come with a considerable amount of risk, both from accidents and also considering the environmental impact of storing high-level radioactive waste in a country with very little space for storing anything. Enter the power of wind, which in parts of Europe has become one of the largest sources of clean energy. Wind power features none of the dangerous by-products of nuclear power, no flooding of villages or damming of rivers like needed for hydro, and better overall efficiency than solar. With the passing of the Marine Renewable Energy Utilization Act two years ago, Japan now has 120 offshore wind farm sites that are under development, with four locations in Akita, Aomori, Chiba, and Nagasaki prefectures fast-tracked for local approval and implementation.WHY EXPAND INTO JAPAN? At the vanguard of the wind projects are two Danish multinationals: Vestas and Orsted, each at the top of the charts globally in the production of wind turbines and offshore development. Leading the charge in Japan is the nacelle innovator Vestas, whose joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) on the Akita-Noshiro project is currently powering the delivery of a total of 33 Vestas V117 turbines to the project site off of the Japan Sea coast. The expected combined output of 139 MW will be enough to power 130,000 homes, putting the project well ahead of any other offshore wind farm in Japan. Yokohama-machi in neighboring Aomori The prefecture will soon be the host of a similar project, with nine V117 turbines and three of the less powerful V105 units on the delivery slate. But it is the massive Yurihonjo project (located just south of the Akita-Noshiro site) that is expected to dwarf all of the competition, with the installation of up to 90 turbines generating an output of more than 700 MW. And in the not-so-distant future is the rollout of a powerful new “supersized” turbine by MHI-Vestas. The next-gen turbine is said to be even more powerful than the V164/174, currently, the highest-capacity wind turbine ever made, and its deployment in the field is expected by the middle of this decade. It will be an uphill battle to make renewable energy in Japan a larger piece of the country’s power puzzle. Under current initiatives, the government expects to be able to source just 1.7% of its electricity from wind farms by 2030, and so any real impact must be linked to an equal or larger investment in hydro and solar and a much deeper look into the potential for harnessing geothermal energy sources in one of the most seismically active regions in the world. But clean energy proponents are hoping that the momentum generated by offshore wind projects will be the wind in Japan’s sails as the country charts a course for a new, non-nuclear energy future. As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan’s energy needs remain substantial. Nevertheless, the relative undersaturation of the market presents a clear long-term opportunity for private investors seeking to gain exposure not only to the growing capacity of domestic projects, but also to innovations across the cleantech, grid, and storage space. Building this exposure in Japan also enables foreign investors to potentially gain access to benefit from the lucrative links which Japanese corporate, financial, investment, government, and non-governmental bodies have cemented across the Asia-Pacific region. Keep checking back or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram to get notified about our latest posts. We’ll be adding more articles in the future relating to global expansion, energy, and relocation in Japan, so watch this space! Alternatively, get in touch to see how we can help you collaborate and do business in Japan.  

Apr 15, 2021
BlogLocal Expertise For Global Expansion
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Local Expertise For Global Expansion

Whether it’s Steve Jobs stepping out of his garage or Mark Zuckerberg expanding beyond his Harvard dorm room, every successful company reaches a point where it’s too big for where it started. As you look to expand your business beyond your home country or territory, there are vital steps to take to ensure a relatively easy landing.Local laws and regulations have to be understood and evaluated. An innocent mistake – like, for example, hiring misclassified employees – could lead to costly legal action, fines, and reputational damage, before your local team has even unpacked their suitcases.Before you enter a new country, make sure your team has familiarised itself with the basic entry – and exit – requirements of your target market.After you’ve completed your market assessment and weighed up your market entry options, you’ll need to start bringing in the necessary expertise. Who are those experts, and who needs a seat at your global expansion table?Cast your mind back to the earliest stages of your business, when you were first moving from an ambitious start-up (possibly even a one-person show) to growing concern. Your first new hire might have been someone who could correctly advise you on the appropriate tax structures and on regulatory compliance.HERE'S WHY YOU NEED TO HIRE LOCAL EXPERTISEGlobal expansion would require the same expertise, but on a local country basis. This team would assist your own newly landed team with managing local tax regulations and providing bespoke accounting solutions.Legal advice would be a necessary extension of that, and another key early “hire”. From navigating local laws and employment laws (which might be very different from what you’re accustomed to in your home jurisdiction) to managing visas and work permits for staff who’re relocating to set up your new satellite office, trusted legal support is of course absolutely essential.Less obvious, but no less important, benefits of in-country legal support include conducting risk analysis and crisis management. Then, as the business establishes itself in its new territory, property – either renting or buying – would become the next problem to be solved.Recruitment, payroll, outsourcing… Global expansion support would also cover HR services, which can vary dramatically from country to country. Country-compliant HR processes would also have to be set up and implemented, as would the necessary cross-border banking solutions.Many companies make the mistake of entering a new market without hiring any local team members. Local people have unique, invaluable insights into local customs, cultural standards, and employee expectations, which can only come from having lived and worked in that particular market.The key driver behind global expansion is, of course, the potential to grow your company’s brand and profitability. It can also serve as protection against the risk of decline in your domestic markets. The trick lies in getting it right – and to do that, you’ll need to call on in-country expertise.Our Centuro Connect Platform provides end-to-end assistance through the complexities of global expansion, activating the local business ecosystem to provide a clear roadmap of actionable solutions. You can sign up today to try it out! There’s no risk, no hidden costs, and no endless documentation to fill out. Just a wealth of information and like-minded experts to help you throughout your international business expansion. 

Mar 25, 2021
BlogNew Era of international assignments and relocating
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New Era Of International Assignments And Relocating

As COVID-19 swept the globe, many countries adopted a shelter-in-place approach, hoping to contain the pandemic through local, regional or national lockdowns. Borders have closed, and the idea of immigration – let alone an overseas vacation – has been shelved indefinitely. Or has it? Life and business go on, and while remote working remains the default for some organisations, others are unable to wait for ‘normal’ travel patterns to fully return before relocating groups or individual employees. Relocation and immigration, which are high-stress but low-risk activities under normal circumstances, take on an added layer of complexity during a pandemic. This places added pressure on employers, whose duty of care to employees extends to their health and safety when relocating for work purposes, forcing HR specialists to consider rapidly changing regulations on top of existing transborder legislation. Non compliance of the rules could inevitably have a serious impact on the company as well as the individual. For example, when it comes to speed of deployment, companies may be forced to initially send someone into a new country with a business visa rather than a work permit for the sake of expediency, without realising the implications that a pandemic has imposed on travellers such as mandatory quarantine and negative Covid tests before they are permitted to enter. In such circumstances it would be the employer’s responsibility to ensure their assignee is briefed in advance without having to deal with the stress of added border checks being introduced globally. Regulations around immigration requirements as well as eligibility are changing rapidly, with entry restrictions often announced without notice. Individuals cannot be expected to keep track of the changes; instead, businesses should work closely with their internal legal teams, or external suppliers and develop internal policies and introduce regular communications keeping all stakeholders up to date. As vaccine rollouts began in early 2021 there was widespread concern about ‘vaccine passports’, which would either facilitate entry or enable immigrants to skip quarantine protocols when arriving in a new country. Several governments (and even some airlines) now require digital travel passes to help passengers manage their travel plans. None of that will be new to frequent travellers, who for years have had to provide ‘yellow cards’ as proof of vaccination against diseases like yellow fever and cholera. However, the rules will vary depending on the immigrant’s destination or country of origin, on their potential exposure to specific strains of the COVID-19 virus, and on the exact vaccine they have received. Again, it’s essential that those bases are covered to ensure a smooth process and business continuity. Many national governments have demonstrated a level of leniency and flexibility when dealing with the pandemic, but as the world heads towards a new normal it has become critical for companies to review their internal practices and introduce new measures that tackle the requirements for the future of international assignments. Given the significant overhaul of the requirements for travel, it would be prudent to review insurance and medical policies and introduce contingency planning to tackle the unforeseeable, thereby equipping your employees with the information and support they need for safer assignments. In addition to the safety requirements, employers will also be dealing with remote working locations and tax liability for both the individual and business. The earlier a company prepares and considers all the moving parts of a future assignment and factors in the cost implications to the business for Covid testing, health insurance and emergency measures, the more rewarding the experience for the employee in question. In short, HR departments need to undertake more strategic decision making with the buy in from senior management to ensure their assignment programs can run smoothly in the future. It will be interesting to see how assignments will be structured going forward with more options for employees to choose their desired location for remote working anywhere in the world.

Mar 24, 2021
BlogLabour Pains
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Labour Pains

In some countries, cars drive on the left. In others, cars drive on the right. In some countries most people ride bikes or scooters; and in some parts of some major cities, cars aren’t allowed to drive at all. Employment law is no different. While some employment regulations are universal, others have local variations that create complexities for businesses looking to expand into new jurisdictions. The International Labour Organization (ILO) sets universal labour law standards, which individual countries ratify (sign up for) and enforce as part of their domestic laws. But there are nuances to many local laws which must be understood and accounted for, to ensure your business doesn’t miss out on recruiting the people it needs, and that it doesn’t waste money on avoidable fines or criminal sanctions. The recruitment process is often a puzzle for globally growing businesses. Some countries require a local entity to be set up to hire local employees, while in others the parent company can work directly with local hires. Many – but not all – countries require written employee contracts to be in place, setting out the employer’s and employee’s obligations. (In some jurisdictions, like Belgium and Saudi Arabia, those contracts are only enforceable if they’ve been translated into the local language accurately.) Likewise, many – but again not all – countries have a minimum wage and overtime requirements in place; and while this does not apply to white-collar hires, it may well apply to your blue-collar staff or independent contractors. Implementing country-compliant processes is absolutely essential. Take the Saudi Arabian example: there, all part-time workers must have a contract that states an official termination date, and part time-contracts can only be renewed once. Foreign workers must have a fixed-term contract and are ineligible for part-time work. Probation periods should be explicitly stated in contracts and normally run for three months, although they can be extended to six months by written agreement. The in-country specifics only get more complex from there. The maximum working time for employees working in Saudi Arabia is eight hours a day or 48 hours a week. This can vary in the event of shift work, but only if those limits are not breached over a three-week rolling average. Those limits are then reduced during Ramadan to six hours a day and 36 hours a week. Now compare that to Singapore, for example. According to the local Employment Act, every contract of service must include the designation title and job scope, hours of work, probation clause, remuneration package, employee benefits, code of conduct and termination. Companies that fail to comply with any aspect of this Employment Act can face severe fines and possible jail time. In Singapore, the maximum working hours are eight hours a day, 44 hours a week, and no more than six consecutive hours without a break. Employees cannot work more than 12 hours a day, including overtime. Some countries (like France, Italy and Brazil) require employees to “unionise”, or join in industry-specific collective bargaining agreements.; and almost every country on the planet requires employers to set up payroll and redirect the applicable income tax and employee benefits (healthcare, pensions, unemployment insurance, etc) to the relevant authorities. This can be a significant cost, which may be best outsourced to a specialist payroll provider, at least at the start. If hiring is a maze, then firing can be a minefield. The grounds for legally terminating employment vary dramatically from country to country, or even in different regions within a single country. Some countries (including, famously, the United States) have “at-will” employment, which allows employers to fire staff as and when they please. Try that in other most countries, and you’ll face a short and expensive trip to the labour courts. There, terminations must follow a fair process and must be based on reasonable grounds, like poor performance (which has to be documented), redundancy (which often requires firmer grounds than simply a desire to restructure that one role) or gross misconduct (which again has to be documented and proven). The rules get more complicated as your business grows. In Japan, for example, you’re required to document work rules in an employee handbook once you’ve grown to 10 employees; in France, that’s required at 20 employees, while in Belgium it’s mandatory for just one. As with so many aspects of global expansion, the secret to success lies in knowing the lay of the land and planning ahead. Your first engagement, then, might not be an in-country employee, but rather a local “fixer” who can help you navigate the intricacies of domestic labour law.

Mar 19, 2021
BlogNew Brazilian Tax law to benefit Expanding IT Companies
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New Brazilian Tax Law To Benefit Expanding IT Companies

Introduction On 18th February 2021, the Brazilian Supreme Court (“STF”) ended a dispute of many years and ruled that Municipal Service Tax (“ISS”) is the correct tax to be levied on software transactions, especially in respect of software licensing and use assignment transactions. What does this mean? Such a decision changed the prevailing case law regarding the matter and impacts IT companies all over the country since they had been waiting for a final decision to be rendered to have legal certainty on how to conduct their activities. In short, Municipalities will only be authorized to charge retroactively the cases in which no tax has been collected. Additionally, taxpayers may only apply for a refund of the ICMS amount to States in the cases where the payment of both taxes has been effected. Conclusion Under this new scenario, IT companies will no longer need to enrol with the State Tax Authority at the time of their incorporation, a requirement that had been triggered automatically by the State Authority at that stage, and which also required the need for physical and segregated premises. Therefore, the judgment will not only produce a lower tax burden for the technology sector but will also bring less complexity to the company's operations.

Mar 18, 2021
BlogCenturo Global: The New Frontier to Global Expansion
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Centuro Global: The New Frontier To Global Expansion

How can businesses grow beyond restrictions imposed by COVID-19? In a world where an enterprise is still held hostage by pandemic restraints, international growth might seem an impossible endeavour. Certainly, organic growth has been challenging in these times. The challenges posed by business internationalisation are more complex than ever, due to restrictions on travel, conducting due diligence and establishing operational collateral in foreign geographies. In tandem, the pandemic shook the foundations of every international market, upheaving long-founded supply chains and regulations for expanding businesses. Above all, the impact of the global health crisis exposed vulnerabilities in the way business mitigate social and economic threats; particularly those caused by conventional framings of development and global growth. According to a KPMG white paper, the companies that could not sustain operations throughout the pandemic were those that failed to ‘seize opportunities offered by digital or hybrid solutions. The KPMG analysts advise executives to look beyond conventional means of survival: ‘Companies need to shift their focus to new opportunities. Companies on the lookout for emerging opportunities early on may find opportunities to create added value’ COVID-19 proved the need for organisations to outgrow existing operational fragilities, and to go digital. Several long-standing organisations that failed to adopt next-generation capacities faltered under pandemic pressure. They faced barriers that could have otherwise been avoided by more interconnected approaches. In light of last year’s events, businesses need to pre-empt the success of newer approaches to internationalisation. Nominally, they need to consider the benefits of hybrid service offerings and product platforms that will ease the expansion progress for them. Zain Ali, CEO of global expansion company Centuro Global, believes that businesses will succeed by adhering to platform-based approaches to internationalisation. He identifies the trends and potential roadblocks that expanding organisations might face in the short and long-term, and how expansion solutions like Centuro Global’s ‘Go Global’ and ‘Centuro Connect’ offerings could remediate these bottlenecks. Read The Full Conversation Here.

ZAIN ALI Mar 17, 2021
BlogOlympic-sized Challenge Ahead for Tokyo
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Olympic-sized Challenge Ahead For Tokyo

While there has been a lot of negative buzz surrounding the Tokyo Olympics due to the recent scandal involving sexist comments made by Yoshiro Mori, the disgraced former TOCOG (Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) president, his resignation has yielded an unexpectedly positive outcome in the appointment of Seiko Hashimoto as the new committee chief. Not only is Hashimoto the first female to hold the post of president, but the seven-time Olympian is also already injecting new life into the preparation for the games, which since their postponement have been plagued by various logistical complications and an overall lack of a clear strategy.One thing that Hashimoto has made abundantly clear is that there is no plan to hold the games without spectators, although whether visitors from abroad will be permitted to enter Japan is still to be decided. One would imagine that some form of new “spectator” visa would need to be created for those individuals who have been vaccinated, tested, and cleared other requirements prior to entry. And as the mandatory post-arrival quarantine period of 14 days is unlikely to be a practical option for visitors eager to head right to the venues, “travel lanes” within Tokyo would need to be created to ensure that those with quarantine requirements waived do not interact with the general public. Measures could include offering designated accommodations for visitors, limiting the use of public transport, installing tracking apps, and requiring the submission of a full travel itinerary in advance of visa issuance. A similar system already exists in the Business Track (BT) privilege that has been granted to those travelling from Singapore and the Republic of Korea, although BT is currently suspended due to the State of Emergency declaration in Tokyo.Maintaining adequate social distancing at Olympic venues is also sure to be a hotly debated topic, and if the Superbowl of American football and other recent events such as the Australian Open tennis tournament are any indication, a maximum of 50% of venue capacity is likely to be enforced. In addition to driving up ticket prices both at home and abroad, this will present a unique challenge to organizers hoping to showcase the games as being accessible to all in the community. It remains to be seen what types of creative solutions to half-empty stadiums can be found, although these may include using digital effects and providing “virtual spectator” experiences. But the Australians proved that a large-scale international sporting event can indeed be held safely and successfully, even if their solution involved confining athletes and essential coaching staff to a bubble and employing an aggressive testing strategy under which some individuals were tested for Covid more than 15 times over the course of the event. Far from vacation for anyone involved, athletes and fans were restricted to their hotel rooms outside of the event, despite a very minimal level of community spread of the virus in Melbourne.Something that all involved can agree on is that the fan experience at this Olympics is going to be markedly different from past games. The organizers have released a playbook that includes prohibitions on applauding, high fiving, flag-waving, trumpet playing, or any of the general boisterousness that is part and parcel of the Japanese art of organized cheering. Temperature checks will be routinely conducted at all venues and mask-wearing compulsory and absolute (no Melbourne-style removing of masks once seated) for all spectators. Organizers are just hoping that these and soon-to-be-introduced stricter guidelines do not discourage too many domestic fans from venturing out from behind the comfort of their 4K flatscreens and the safety of their living rooms.Unfortunately, public support for the Tokyo Olympics still remains low, with many polls showing that a majority of Japanese do not support going forward with the games at all this summer. A survey by Japan’s public broadcaster NHK found that only 27% of those polled agree with holding the Olympics during a pandemic, and 32% prefer that the games be cancelled entirely. There is also growing opposition to the Olympic torch relay, with Governor Tatsuya Maruyama of Japan’s Shimane Prefecture threatening to cancel participation in the relay unless infection rates in Tokyo subside. This may be just a publicity stunt to put additional pressure on central government organizers, however, it could also serve as a catalyst for more pronounced criticism of how the lead up to the games is being handled.But perhaps the biggest concern surrounds the safety of the thousands of athletes themselves, who would need to be housed communally and transported to the various venues with minimal interaction with the outside world. This is assuming that a significant number of the 10,000 athletes slated to arrive in Tokyo in July are actually willing and able to make the trip. And then there is the question of what athletes will be able to accomplish after arrival. For example, Hashimoto predicts that only one-third of the participating athletes will be able to march in the opening ceremony, with many likely to be stuck in the processing backlog until the start of their respective events.One thing is certain, however. Japan will find a way to make the Olympics work in some capacity, regardless of how many people attend and how many sacrifices must be made by all those involved. Despite public sentiment to the contrary, corporate Japan is fully behind the games, with big-name companies like Toyota showing unwavering support and all 67 of the other corporate sponsors still on board. The Tokyo government is looking to use the games to catapult the metropolis back into a top position amongst innovative global cities, vying to run the first games that are virtually carbon neutral. Tokyo organizers will ferry around both athletes and spectators on fuel cell buses and plan to award medals made entirely from recycled mobile phone parts. If nothing else, the Tokyo games represent a chance for Japan to use the Olympic stage to highlight a turning point for the country, be it Seiko Hashimoto’s ambitious goal of achieving 40% female representation on organizing committees, or Japan’s mission to reinvent itself as a model for sustainable post-industrial societies.Let the games (hopefully) begin.

Mar 02, 2021
BlogHOW TO OBTAIN A BULGARIAN WORK AND RESIDENCE PERMIT TYPE BLUE CARD OF THE EU
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HOW TO OBTAIN A BULGARIAN WORK AND RESIDENCE PERMIT TYPE BLUE CARD OF THE EU

In order to legally work in Bulgaria as a highly qualified professional via the so-called Blue Card of the EU work and residence permit, you must first obtain a work permit. In order to qualify for such, you must hold at least a 3 years bachelor degree from an officially recognized university and a job offer from a Bulgarian employer. Work permits in Bulgaria are processed through the Employment Agency (EA).Let’s say you receive a job offer you want to accept. Firstly, your potential employer should apply for your work permit for a highly qualified professional EA. This can be done only through the EA office in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. The documents are submitted only in hard copies. Only original or notary verified documents are accepted. The application can be done directly from the employer or through your Immigration provider. The employer submits various company documents together with translated and legalized education documents of the employee. The processing time officially is up to 15 days but in reality, it usually takes around 3 weeks.Then, once these documents have been approved, you can prepare your visa application documents, book an interview at the closest to your Bulgarian Embassy or consulate. The processing time for the visa is up to 45 calendar days.After receiving your visa you can now enter Bulgaria and continue with the application for your local residence permit type Blue Card. The application takes places at the Migration Office responsible for your Bulgarian residence address. You have up to 180 days to submit your residence permit application, however, you can’t start officially work until you have obtained your residency card so it is advisable that you apply as soon as you arrive in the country. The review of the application documents takes up to 7 days and another 3 to 30 days (depending on the type of service you pay for) for issuing your new ID card. As soon as you receive your Blue Card you can start your employmentThe validity of this type of work permits is up to 4 years and it is one of the most favourable ways to legally work in Bulgaria.Go Global by Centuro Global For those looking for more information regarding Bulgarian immigration (or other information including tax, accounting, legal, and more) Go Global is a free revolutionary new global expansion platform that empowers individuals and companies with the knowledge and expertise to trade in any jurisdiction globally.Our easy to use, self-service portal will grant access to a database of crucial information provided by local experts, expansion playbooks, a global network & actionable support. Sign up for your free account and start your global expansion journey today.

Mar 01, 2021
BlogFrance Immigration Update – March 2021
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France Immigration Update – March 2021

Despite the pandemic, France continues to make efforts to attract investors and qualified immigrants.Even though France has strict travel restrictions currently in place, most foreign persons considered as company representatives who have power of attorney to represent a French or foreign corporate entity are still welcome as newcomers.The above also applies to highly skilled professionals and to some employees covered by French intracompany immigration regulations.The above persons should have applied for long stay (greater than 3 months) “Talent Passport” visas which are still being processed by French consulates outside of the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Vatican.Accompanying married spouses and children under 18 years of age are also covered by the “Talent Passport” conditions and are thus permitted to enter France.It is important to emphasise that all nationalities are still subject to health controls.Centuro ConnectFor those looking to relocate to France, Centuro Connect is a free revolutionary new global expansion platform that empowers people and companies with the knowledge and expertise to relocate and trade in any jurisdiction globally.Our easy to use, self-service portal will grant access to a database of French expansion blueprints, a global network of experts & actionable support. Sign up for your free account and start your global expansion journey today. Sign up for free today to gain access!

Mar 01, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
How Technology Enables Global Expansion

Expanding into new and foreign markets is a complex enough undertaking without worrying about your technological systems. Since many nations in developing and emerging markets are still relatively immature technologically, companies need to know that their ICT can be relied upon to support their business, no matter what the industryEighty-one percent of companies consider technological progress the main factor of change for the next 5 years, while 50 percent of the world’s leading manufacturing companies invest in IT applications and infrastructure to help them be more flexible and agile. Technological change reshaping business growth and expansion will only intensify as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and cyber-physical systems take the digital revolution to another level. So it is to technology that companies must turn to help them overcome the challenges of expanding in new markets. Technology in its fullest understanding is the capability that leads to outcomes, whether tangible or intangible. For this to happen, typically, certain skills and procedures are required. Early advances in human history are closely associated with technological progress, specifically with the history of energy. Yet, it was the dawn of the printing press towards the end of the Middle Ages which spurred the Renaissance, and which eventually led to the first recognizable techno-economic revolution of the modern age. Better known as the Industrial Revolution, this era was characterized by the mechanization of the cotton industry and the construction of canals, waterways, waterwheels, and turnpike roads. Since then, certain key trends associated with technological progress became clear:The size and footprint of technologies continue to increase beyond imagination, proven by bigger container ships and airplanes, higher buildings and dam walls, and space-age scientific experiments like the International Space Station, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and the Large Hadron Collider. Technology also becomes smaller and increasingly manifests at nanoscale. Think about gene sequencing and its applications in the medical and agricultural industries;Every technology epoch is characterized by a different principle of operation. A sequence of capabilities can be conceived of, starting with manual effort, followed in sequence by fire, speech and art, mechanics, steam, electricity, internal combustion, electronics, mechatronics, and lately characterized by the convergence of neurotech, biotech, infotech and nanotech;Technology becomes more accurate and efficient. From the crude capabilities of stone tools to the pinpoint accuracy of a laser, of GPS navigation and digital capabilities in general, there is steady progress in accuracy and efficiency;Technology becomes increasingly complex, and understanding thereof less accessible to the layperson; andDue to the conflation of these characteristics, technology also becomes more expensive, yet more omnipresent.HOW TECHNOLOGY ENABLES GLOBAL EXPANSIONFuture-focused leaders, in conclusion, strife to become technology-fluid. This means they attend to the following priorities:They realize that technology is all-pervasive and powerful and that the current transition to robotics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing requires them to render technology a top priority on their governance and oversight agendas;They actively pursue strategies to ensure that their technology assets have been sourced responsibly, that the workings thereof respect the privacy and dignity of all living things inasmuch as environmental health, and that once retired these technologies are fed back into the recycling streams representative of their industries;They evaluate technology and technology innovation proposals for their relevance, appropriateness, and functionality, with relevance interrogating immediacy of need and of utility value, with appropriateness interrogating fitness for purpose, and with functionality interrogating outcomes with efficiency and sustainability gains; andThey pursue Integrated Reporting in order to inform all stakeholders of their attention to detail, inclusive of technology impacts, and they remain conscious of immediate technology priorities, such as the need for digital governance, focusing on social media strategies, thorough data and privacy protection principles and practices, and exploration of data monetization strategies.The global solutions offered by technology can be exactly what your company needs to expand internationally and by choosing the right technology tools to power your global expansion, you’ll soon find the world is at your fingertips.Discover how our 20 years of experience in global markets can help your organization seamlessly integrate new locations into your infrastructure HERE 

Apr 15, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
“Powerful” Investment Opportunities In Japan

The energy market in Japan has some of the biggest investment market potentials in the Asia Pacific region. Their robust grid infrastructure, renewable goals, and significant capacity demonstrate that additional value already exists. The ability to invest in renewable energy assets in Japan—and thus to contribute to the country’s energy transition—also presents a significant opportunity for long-term capital from around the globe. Notably, a recent study has shown that Japan can create 67,000 new jobs by investing in domestic renewable energy projects by 2030. This would be a positive step as countries seek to rebuild their economies in the wake of COVID-19—and potentially catalyze a movement toward investment-led growth. In the aftermath of the devastating March 2011 East Japan Earthquake and resulting nuclear crisis, the Japanese government was forced to radically overhaul its long-term energy strategy. Following the crisis, Japan made the unavoidable decision to shut down all of its 54 nuclear power plants (which prior to the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns accounted for more than 30% of its power supply) and drag dozens of thermal plants out of mothballs to compensate. This sudden jump back to a dependence on fossil fuels may have been a big boost for “Big Energy” companies, but it represented a pronounced about-face from where Japan aspired to be in terms of clean energy. Fortunately, it also triggered a grassroots movement strongly in favor of safer, renewable energy technologies and vehemently opposed to any return to a reliance on nuclear power. It has taken nearly a decade for the government to come around, however it looks like 2021 could very well be the year that Japan truly earns its spot at number 12 on the 2019 “Environmental Performance Index,” right behind The Netherlands. While considered to be “on the greener side of green” when it comes to environmental policies, Japan’s long-term relationship with nuclear power has come with a considerable amount of risk, both from accidents and also considering the environmental impact of storing high-level radioactive waste in a country with very little space for storing anything. Enter the power of wind, which in parts of Europe has become one of the largest sources of clean energy. Wind power features none of the dangerous by-products of nuclear power, no flooding of villages or damming of rivers like needed for hydro, and better overall efficiency than solar. With the passing of the Marine Renewable Energy Utilization Act two years ago, Japan now has 120 offshore wind farm sites that are under development, with four locations in Akita, Aomori, Chiba, and Nagasaki prefectures fast-tracked for local approval and implementation.WHY EXPAND INTO JAPAN? At the vanguard of the wind projects are two Danish multinationals: Vestas and Orsted, each at the top of the charts globally in the production of wind turbines and offshore development. Leading the charge in Japan is the nacelle innovator Vestas, whose joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) on the Akita-Noshiro project is currently powering the delivery of a total of 33 Vestas V117 turbines to the project site off of the Japan Sea coast. The expected combined output of 139 MW will be enough to power 130,000 homes, putting the project well ahead of any other offshore wind farm in Japan. Yokohama-machi in neighboring Aomori The prefecture will soon be the host of a similar project, with nine V117 turbines and three of the less powerful V105 units on the delivery slate. But it is the massive Yurihonjo project (located just south of the Akita-Noshiro site) that is expected to dwarf all of the competition, with the installation of up to 90 turbines generating an output of more than 700 MW. And in the not-so-distant future is the rollout of a powerful new “supersized” turbine by MHI-Vestas. The next-gen turbine is said to be even more powerful than the V164/174, currently, the highest-capacity wind turbine ever made, and its deployment in the field is expected by the middle of this decade. It will be an uphill battle to make renewable energy in Japan a larger piece of the country’s power puzzle. Under current initiatives, the government expects to be able to source just 1.7% of its electricity from wind farms by 2030, and so any real impact must be linked to an equal or larger investment in hydro and solar and a much deeper look into the potential for harnessing geothermal energy sources in one of the most seismically active regions in the world. But clean energy proponents are hoping that the momentum generated by offshore wind projects will be the wind in Japan’s sails as the country charts a course for a new, non-nuclear energy future. As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan’s energy needs remain substantial. Nevertheless, the relative undersaturation of the market presents a clear long-term opportunity for private investors seeking to gain exposure not only to the growing capacity of domestic projects, but also to innovations across the cleantech, grid, and storage space. Building this exposure in Japan also enables foreign investors to potentially gain access to benefit from the lucrative links which Japanese corporate, financial, investment, government, and non-governmental bodies have cemented across the Asia-Pacific region. Keep checking back or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram to get notified about our latest posts. We’ll be adding more articles in the future relating to global expansion, energy, and relocation in Japan, so watch this space! Alternatively, get in touch to see how we can help you collaborate and do business in Japan.  

Apr 15, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Local Expertise For Global Expansion

Whether it’s Steve Jobs stepping out of his garage or Mark Zuckerberg expanding beyond his Harvard dorm room, every successful company reaches a point where it’s too big for where it started. As you look to expand your business beyond your home country or territory, there are vital steps to take to ensure a relatively easy landing.Local laws and regulations have to be understood and evaluated. An innocent mistake – like, for example, hiring misclassified employees – could lead to costly legal action, fines, and reputational damage, before your local team has even unpacked their suitcases.Before you enter a new country, make sure your team has familiarised itself with the basic entry – and exit – requirements of your target market.After you’ve completed your market assessment and weighed up your market entry options, you’ll need to start bringing in the necessary expertise. Who are those experts, and who needs a seat at your global expansion table?Cast your mind back to the earliest stages of your business, when you were first moving from an ambitious start-up (possibly even a one-person show) to growing concern. Your first new hire might have been someone who could correctly advise you on the appropriate tax structures and on regulatory compliance.HERE'S WHY YOU NEED TO HIRE LOCAL EXPERTISEGlobal expansion would require the same expertise, but on a local country basis. This team would assist your own newly landed team with managing local tax regulations and providing bespoke accounting solutions.Legal advice would be a necessary extension of that, and another key early “hire”. From navigating local laws and employment laws (which might be very different from what you’re accustomed to in your home jurisdiction) to managing visas and work permits for staff who’re relocating to set up your new satellite office, trusted legal support is of course absolutely essential.Less obvious, but no less important, benefits of in-country legal support include conducting risk analysis and crisis management. Then, as the business establishes itself in its new territory, property – either renting or buying – would become the next problem to be solved.Recruitment, payroll, outsourcing… Global expansion support would also cover HR services, which can vary dramatically from country to country. Country-compliant HR processes would also have to be set up and implemented, as would the necessary cross-border banking solutions.Many companies make the mistake of entering a new market without hiring any local team members. Local people have unique, invaluable insights into local customs, cultural standards, and employee expectations, which can only come from having lived and worked in that particular market.The key driver behind global expansion is, of course, the potential to grow your company’s brand and profitability. It can also serve as protection against the risk of decline in your domestic markets. The trick lies in getting it right – and to do that, you’ll need to call on in-country expertise.Our Centuro Connect Platform provides end-to-end assistance through the complexities of global expansion, activating the local business ecosystem to provide a clear roadmap of actionable solutions. You can sign up today to try it out! There’s no risk, no hidden costs, and no endless documentation to fill out. Just a wealth of information and like-minded experts to help you throughout your international business expansion. 

Mar 25, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
New Era Of International Assignments And Relocating

As COVID-19 swept the globe, many countries adopted a shelter-in-place approach, hoping to contain the pandemic through local, regional or national lockdowns. Borders have closed, and the idea of immigration – let alone an overseas vacation – has been shelved indefinitely. Or has it? Life and business go on, and while remote working remains the default for some organisations, others are unable to wait for ‘normal’ travel patterns to fully return before relocating groups or individual employees. Relocation and immigration, which are high-stress but low-risk activities under normal circumstances, take on an added layer of complexity during a pandemic. This places added pressure on employers, whose duty of care to employees extends to their health and safety when relocating for work purposes, forcing HR specialists to consider rapidly changing regulations on top of existing transborder legislation. Non compliance of the rules could inevitably have a serious impact on the company as well as the individual. For example, when it comes to speed of deployment, companies may be forced to initially send someone into a new country with a business visa rather than a work permit for the sake of expediency, without realising the implications that a pandemic has imposed on travellers such as mandatory quarantine and negative Covid tests before they are permitted to enter. In such circumstances it would be the employer’s responsibility to ensure their assignee is briefed in advance without having to deal with the stress of added border checks being introduced globally. Regulations around immigration requirements as well as eligibility are changing rapidly, with entry restrictions often announced without notice. Individuals cannot be expected to keep track of the changes; instead, businesses should work closely with their internal legal teams, or external suppliers and develop internal policies and introduce regular communications keeping all stakeholders up to date. As vaccine rollouts began in early 2021 there was widespread concern about ‘vaccine passports’, which would either facilitate entry or enable immigrants to skip quarantine protocols when arriving in a new country. Several governments (and even some airlines) now require digital travel passes to help passengers manage their travel plans. None of that will be new to frequent travellers, who for years have had to provide ‘yellow cards’ as proof of vaccination against diseases like yellow fever and cholera. However, the rules will vary depending on the immigrant’s destination or country of origin, on their potential exposure to specific strains of the COVID-19 virus, and on the exact vaccine they have received. Again, it’s essential that those bases are covered to ensure a smooth process and business continuity. Many national governments have demonstrated a level of leniency and flexibility when dealing with the pandemic, but as the world heads towards a new normal it has become critical for companies to review their internal practices and introduce new measures that tackle the requirements for the future of international assignments. Given the significant overhaul of the requirements for travel, it would be prudent to review insurance and medical policies and introduce contingency planning to tackle the unforeseeable, thereby equipping your employees with the information and support they need for safer assignments. In addition to the safety requirements, employers will also be dealing with remote working locations and tax liability for both the individual and business. The earlier a company prepares and considers all the moving parts of a future assignment and factors in the cost implications to the business for Covid testing, health insurance and emergency measures, the more rewarding the experience for the employee in question. In short, HR departments need to undertake more strategic decision making with the buy in from senior management to ensure their assignment programs can run smoothly in the future. It will be interesting to see how assignments will be structured going forward with more options for employees to choose their desired location for remote working anywhere in the world.

Mar 24, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
Labour Pains

In some countries, cars drive on the left. In others, cars drive on the right. In some countries most people ride bikes or scooters; and in some parts of some major cities, cars aren’t allowed to drive at all. Employment law is no different. While some employment regulations are universal, others have local variations that create complexities for businesses looking to expand into new jurisdictions. The International Labour Organization (ILO) sets universal labour law standards, which individual countries ratify (sign up for) and enforce as part of their domestic laws. But there are nuances to many local laws which must be understood and accounted for, to ensure your business doesn’t miss out on recruiting the people it needs, and that it doesn’t waste money on avoidable fines or criminal sanctions. The recruitment process is often a puzzle for globally growing businesses. Some countries require a local entity to be set up to hire local employees, while in others the parent company can work directly with local hires. Many – but not all – countries require written employee contracts to be in place, setting out the employer’s and employee’s obligations. (In some jurisdictions, like Belgium and Saudi Arabia, those contracts are only enforceable if they’ve been translated into the local language accurately.) Likewise, many – but again not all – countries have a minimum wage and overtime requirements in place; and while this does not apply to white-collar hires, it may well apply to your blue-collar staff or independent contractors. Implementing country-compliant processes is absolutely essential. Take the Saudi Arabian example: there, all part-time workers must have a contract that states an official termination date, and part time-contracts can only be renewed once. Foreign workers must have a fixed-term contract and are ineligible for part-time work. Probation periods should be explicitly stated in contracts and normally run for three months, although they can be extended to six months by written agreement. The in-country specifics only get more complex from there. The maximum working time for employees working in Saudi Arabia is eight hours a day or 48 hours a week. This can vary in the event of shift work, but only if those limits are not breached over a three-week rolling average. Those limits are then reduced during Ramadan to six hours a day and 36 hours a week. Now compare that to Singapore, for example. According to the local Employment Act, every contract of service must include the designation title and job scope, hours of work, probation clause, remuneration package, employee benefits, code of conduct and termination. Companies that fail to comply with any aspect of this Employment Act can face severe fines and possible jail time. In Singapore, the maximum working hours are eight hours a day, 44 hours a week, and no more than six consecutive hours without a break. Employees cannot work more than 12 hours a day, including overtime. Some countries (like France, Italy and Brazil) require employees to “unionise”, or join in industry-specific collective bargaining agreements.; and almost every country on the planet requires employers to set up payroll and redirect the applicable income tax and employee benefits (healthcare, pensions, unemployment insurance, etc) to the relevant authorities. This can be a significant cost, which may be best outsourced to a specialist payroll provider, at least at the start. If hiring is a maze, then firing can be a minefield. The grounds for legally terminating employment vary dramatically from country to country, or even in different regions within a single country. Some countries (including, famously, the United States) have “at-will” employment, which allows employers to fire staff as and when they please. Try that in other most countries, and you’ll face a short and expensive trip to the labour courts. There, terminations must follow a fair process and must be based on reasonable grounds, like poor performance (which has to be documented), redundancy (which often requires firmer grounds than simply a desire to restructure that one role) or gross misconduct (which again has to be documented and proven). The rules get more complicated as your business grows. In Japan, for example, you’re required to document work rules in an employee handbook once you’ve grown to 10 employees; in France, that’s required at 20 employees, while in Belgium it’s mandatory for just one. As with so many aspects of global expansion, the secret to success lies in knowing the lay of the land and planning ahead. Your first engagement, then, might not be an in-country employee, but rather a local “fixer” who can help you navigate the intricacies of domestic labour law.

Mar 19, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
New Brazilian Tax Law To Benefit Expanding IT Companies

Introduction On 18th February 2021, the Brazilian Supreme Court (“STF”) ended a dispute of many years and ruled that Municipal Service Tax (“ISS”) is the correct tax to be levied on software transactions, especially in respect of software licensing and use assignment transactions. What does this mean? Such a decision changed the prevailing case law regarding the matter and impacts IT companies all over the country since they had been waiting for a final decision to be rendered to have legal certainty on how to conduct their activities. In short, Municipalities will only be authorized to charge retroactively the cases in which no tax has been collected. Additionally, taxpayers may only apply for a refund of the ICMS amount to States in the cases where the payment of both taxes has been effected. Conclusion Under this new scenario, IT companies will no longer need to enrol with the State Tax Authority at the time of their incorporation, a requirement that had been triggered automatically by the State Authority at that stage, and which also required the need for physical and segregated premises. Therefore, the judgment will not only produce a lower tax burden for the technology sector but will also bring less complexity to the company's operations.

Mar 18, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
Centuro Global: The New Frontier To Global Expansion

How can businesses grow beyond restrictions imposed by COVID-19? In a world where an enterprise is still held hostage by pandemic restraints, international growth might seem an impossible endeavour. Certainly, organic growth has been challenging in these times. The challenges posed by business internationalisation are more complex than ever, due to restrictions on travel, conducting due diligence and establishing operational collateral in foreign geographies. In tandem, the pandemic shook the foundations of every international market, upheaving long-founded supply chains and regulations for expanding businesses. Above all, the impact of the global health crisis exposed vulnerabilities in the way business mitigate social and economic threats; particularly those caused by conventional framings of development and global growth. According to a KPMG white paper, the companies that could not sustain operations throughout the pandemic were those that failed to ‘seize opportunities offered by digital or hybrid solutions. The KPMG analysts advise executives to look beyond conventional means of survival: ‘Companies need to shift their focus to new opportunities. Companies on the lookout for emerging opportunities early on may find opportunities to create added value’ COVID-19 proved the need for organisations to outgrow existing operational fragilities, and to go digital. Several long-standing organisations that failed to adopt next-generation capacities faltered under pandemic pressure. They faced barriers that could have otherwise been avoided by more interconnected approaches. In light of last year’s events, businesses need to pre-empt the success of newer approaches to internationalisation. Nominally, they need to consider the benefits of hybrid service offerings and product platforms that will ease the expansion progress for them. Zain Ali, CEO of global expansion company Centuro Global, believes that businesses will succeed by adhering to platform-based approaches to internationalisation. He identifies the trends and potential roadblocks that expanding organisations might face in the short and long-term, and how expansion solutions like Centuro Global’s ‘Go Global’ and ‘Centuro Connect’ offerings could remediate these bottlenecks. Read The Full Conversation Here.

ZAIN ALIMar 17, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
Olympic-sized Challenge Ahead For Tokyo

While there has been a lot of negative buzz surrounding the Tokyo Olympics due to the recent scandal involving sexist comments made by Yoshiro Mori, the disgraced former TOCOG (Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) president, his resignation has yielded an unexpectedly positive outcome in the appointment of Seiko Hashimoto as the new committee chief. Not only is Hashimoto the first female to hold the post of president, but the seven-time Olympian is also already injecting new life into the preparation for the games, which since their postponement have been plagued by various logistical complications and an overall lack of a clear strategy.One thing that Hashimoto has made abundantly clear is that there is no plan to hold the games without spectators, although whether visitors from abroad will be permitted to enter Japan is still to be decided. One would imagine that some form of new “spectator” visa would need to be created for those individuals who have been vaccinated, tested, and cleared other requirements prior to entry. And as the mandatory post-arrival quarantine period of 14 days is unlikely to be a practical option for visitors eager to head right to the venues, “travel lanes” within Tokyo would need to be created to ensure that those with quarantine requirements waived do not interact with the general public. Measures could include offering designated accommodations for visitors, limiting the use of public transport, installing tracking apps, and requiring the submission of a full travel itinerary in advance of visa issuance. A similar system already exists in the Business Track (BT) privilege that has been granted to those travelling from Singapore and the Republic of Korea, although BT is currently suspended due to the State of Emergency declaration in Tokyo.Maintaining adequate social distancing at Olympic venues is also sure to be a hotly debated topic, and if the Superbowl of American football and other recent events such as the Australian Open tennis tournament are any indication, a maximum of 50% of venue capacity is likely to be enforced. In addition to driving up ticket prices both at home and abroad, this will present a unique challenge to organizers hoping to showcase the games as being accessible to all in the community. It remains to be seen what types of creative solutions to half-empty stadiums can be found, although these may include using digital effects and providing “virtual spectator” experiences. But the Australians proved that a large-scale international sporting event can indeed be held safely and successfully, even if their solution involved confining athletes and essential coaching staff to a bubble and employing an aggressive testing strategy under which some individuals were tested for Covid more than 15 times over the course of the event. Far from vacation for anyone involved, athletes and fans were restricted to their hotel rooms outside of the event, despite a very minimal level of community spread of the virus in Melbourne.Something that all involved can agree on is that the fan experience at this Olympics is going to be markedly different from past games. The organizers have released a playbook that includes prohibitions on applauding, high fiving, flag-waving, trumpet playing, or any of the general boisterousness that is part and parcel of the Japanese art of organized cheering. Temperature checks will be routinely conducted at all venues and mask-wearing compulsory and absolute (no Melbourne-style removing of masks once seated) for all spectators. Organizers are just hoping that these and soon-to-be-introduced stricter guidelines do not discourage too many domestic fans from venturing out from behind the comfort of their 4K flatscreens and the safety of their living rooms.Unfortunately, public support for the Tokyo Olympics still remains low, with many polls showing that a majority of Japanese do not support going forward with the games at all this summer. A survey by Japan’s public broadcaster NHK found that only 27% of those polled agree with holding the Olympics during a pandemic, and 32% prefer that the games be cancelled entirely. There is also growing opposition to the Olympic torch relay, with Governor Tatsuya Maruyama of Japan’s Shimane Prefecture threatening to cancel participation in the relay unless infection rates in Tokyo subside. This may be just a publicity stunt to put additional pressure on central government organizers, however, it could also serve as a catalyst for more pronounced criticism of how the lead up to the games is being handled.But perhaps the biggest concern surrounds the safety of the thousands of athletes themselves, who would need to be housed communally and transported to the various venues with minimal interaction with the outside world. This is assuming that a significant number of the 10,000 athletes slated to arrive in Tokyo in July are actually willing and able to make the trip. And then there is the question of what athletes will be able to accomplish after arrival. For example, Hashimoto predicts that only one-third of the participating athletes will be able to march in the opening ceremony, with many likely to be stuck in the processing backlog until the start of their respective events.One thing is certain, however. Japan will find a way to make the Olympics work in some capacity, regardless of how many people attend and how many sacrifices must be made by all those involved. Despite public sentiment to the contrary, corporate Japan is fully behind the games, with big-name companies like Toyota showing unwavering support and all 67 of the other corporate sponsors still on board. The Tokyo government is looking to use the games to catapult the metropolis back into a top position amongst innovative global cities, vying to run the first games that are virtually carbon neutral. Tokyo organizers will ferry around both athletes and spectators on fuel cell buses and plan to award medals made entirely from recycled mobile phone parts. If nothing else, the Tokyo games represent a chance for Japan to use the Olympic stage to highlight a turning point for the country, be it Seiko Hashimoto’s ambitious goal of achieving 40% female representation on organizing committees, or Japan’s mission to reinvent itself as a model for sustainable post-industrial societies.Let the games (hopefully) begin.

Mar 02, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
HOW TO OBTAIN A BULGARIAN WORK AND RESIDENCE PERMIT TYPE BLUE CARD OF THE EU

In order to legally work in Bulgaria as a highly qualified professional via the so-called Blue Card of the EU work and residence permit, you must first obtain a work permit. In order to qualify for such, you must hold at least a 3 years bachelor degree from an officially recognized university and a job offer from a Bulgarian employer. Work permits in Bulgaria are processed through the Employment Agency (EA).Let’s say you receive a job offer you want to accept. Firstly, your potential employer should apply for your work permit for a highly qualified professional EA. This can be done only through the EA office in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. The documents are submitted only in hard copies. Only original or notary verified documents are accepted. The application can be done directly from the employer or through your Immigration provider. The employer submits various company documents together with translated and legalized education documents of the employee. The processing time officially is up to 15 days but in reality, it usually takes around 3 weeks.Then, once these documents have been approved, you can prepare your visa application documents, book an interview at the closest to your Bulgarian Embassy or consulate. The processing time for the visa is up to 45 calendar days.After receiving your visa you can now enter Bulgaria and continue with the application for your local residence permit type Blue Card. The application takes places at the Migration Office responsible for your Bulgarian residence address. You have up to 180 days to submit your residence permit application, however, you can’t start officially work until you have obtained your residency card so it is advisable that you apply as soon as you arrive in the country. The review of the application documents takes up to 7 days and another 3 to 30 days (depending on the type of service you pay for) for issuing your new ID card. As soon as you receive your Blue Card you can start your employmentThe validity of this type of work permits is up to 4 years and it is one of the most favourable ways to legally work in Bulgaria.Go Global by Centuro Global For those looking for more information regarding Bulgarian immigration (or other information including tax, accounting, legal, and more) Go Global is a free revolutionary new global expansion platform that empowers individuals and companies with the knowledge and expertise to trade in any jurisdiction globally.Our easy to use, self-service portal will grant access to a database of crucial information provided by local experts, expansion playbooks, a global network & actionable support. Sign up for your free account and start your global expansion journey today.

Mar 01, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
France Immigration Update – March 2021

Despite the pandemic, France continues to make efforts to attract investors and qualified immigrants.Even though France has strict travel restrictions currently in place, most foreign persons considered as company representatives who have power of attorney to represent a French or foreign corporate entity are still welcome as newcomers.The above also applies to highly skilled professionals and to some employees covered by French intracompany immigration regulations.The above persons should have applied for long stay (greater than 3 months) “Talent Passport” visas which are still being processed by French consulates outside of the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Vatican.Accompanying married spouses and children under 18 years of age are also covered by the “Talent Passport” conditions and are thus permitted to enter France.It is important to emphasise that all nationalities are still subject to health controls.Centuro ConnectFor those looking to relocate to France, Centuro Connect is a free revolutionary new global expansion platform that empowers people and companies with the knowledge and expertise to relocate and trade in any jurisdiction globally.Our easy to use, self-service portal will grant access to a database of French expansion blueprints, a global network of experts & actionable support. Sign up for your free account and start your global expansion journey today. Sign up for free today to gain access!

Mar 01, 2021