07.09.2020 - Companies, Economy, ICT

10 Belarusian companies have expressed a wish to relocate

“In about a week, we have provided consultations to more than 100 Belarusian companies that are seriously considering the possibility of relocating their operations to Latvia. In the meantime, these companies are considering other options, so quick action is crucial. We are currently working closely with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA), the State Border Guard, financial supervisors and other institutions to prepare an appropriate and field-tested roadmap for those entrepreneurs who will decide in favor of Latvia's offer,” emphasizes Kaspars Rožkalns, Director of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, adding that Latvia's offer is also seriously evaluated by several leading Belarusian information and communication technology (ICT) companies. Mikita Mikado, the founder of Pandadoc, has also confirmed this to the Latvian public portal rus.lsm.lv, pointing out that Latvia's offer is competitive and one of the most suitable for companies in the Belarusian ICT industry.

In collaboration with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA), LIAA has set up a quick response team to process visa applications from Belarus faster. The visas and residence permits available to the Belarusian people through the LIAA fast-track program include the so-called Startup Visa for founders of innovative and scalable businesses and their families, the EU Blue Card for highly qualified workers and their families. We can already say that Belarusian companies are interested in evaluating the opportunities provided by Latvia. In operative cooperation with the OCMA, LIAA has also conducted the first full-time visits of Belarusian companies to Latvia. In total, more than 100 consultations have been provided, but 10 companies have already decided to partially or completely relocate their operations to Latvia.

The Latvian side addresses companies working in the ICT sector. According to official data, there are about 1 700 companies working in this sector in Belarus and their main market is USA global corporations. Some Belarusian ICT companies also have offices in San Francisco, USA, in the so-called Silicon Valley. “The business of the ICT industry is global and the place of location is not crucial, so we try to emphasize our advantages. In the case of Belarus, it is the ability to react quickly and offer the necessary solutions, as well as an understanding of the needs of the ICT sector, language skills and the availability of office space. We try to listen to the needs of companies and promptly solve problems that arise with documents. LIAA currently provides all the necessary support by communicating with state institutions and addressing local entrepreneurs. We would like to express our gratitude to the OCMA, the State Border Guard and the Consular Departments of Foreign Affairs for the successful communication that is currently provided, both when communicating with LIAA and with companies. If we want to continue to significantly improve our indicators in the field of investment attraction, such rapid response units must become the norm,” K. Rožkalns emphasizes.

Belarusian entrepreneurs appreciate the active involvement of LIAA in resolving issues related to relocation. Confidentiality is particularly valued, as businesses face various sanctions from the authorities due to the tense political situation. Also, before making such important decisions, company managers must also prepare their employees by discussing various details, including family relocation opportunities. Given these circumstances, most Belarusian companies are reluctant to comment publicly on their future plans before making a final decision. Latvian companies also provide their support in this process, communicating with their partners in Belarus, encouraging them to make a decision in favor of Latvia.

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