Name: Massimo Maesen
Position: Partner – Practice Leader Belgium
Company: Expat Management Group
Expat Management Group, Partner – Practice Leader Belgium: 2019 – Present
Independent, Immigration Attorney (Belgium): 2018 – 2019
Boxx Global Expat Solutions, Attorney at Law – Senior Manager (Belgium): 2018 – 2019
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, Attorney at Law - Manager (Belgium): 2011 – 2018
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, Legal Consultant (Belgium): 2009 – 2011
A: I always had a personal interest in immigration law. My maternal grandparents came to Belgium from Italy after WWII looking for a better life. My father’s mother is Dutch (Maastricht) and came to Belgium following her Belgian love. It felt like the only sector I should be working in. When I was still concluding my law studies I already applied with Fragomen and started there as a legal assistant in both the Belgian and French team. I have now over 10 years of experience in the immigration field, having worked as a manager responsible for different geographies and being an independent immigration attorney for many years, assisting individual as well as corporate clients, and handling pro bono files in asylum procedures and citizenship applications.
A: The opportunity was presented to me by the practice leader of the immigration firm I was working with at that time (2011). Although I had never planned to become an attorney, I took the opportunity with both hands. I thought it would be interesting to combine the commercial and legal sides of being a manager in a corporate immigration firm, with handling pro bono files in mostly asylum cases and citizenship applications.
A: Expat Management Group is a dynamic corporate group of recognized legal experts in both Belgium and the Netherlands which delivers specialized services in all professional aspects of expat mobility management to Belgium and the Netherlands. We are a young and growing company. We do not simply want to copy what other service providers are doing. We want to provide top level service for a reasonable price. We give a personal touch, while maintaining a high level of quality and expertise.
In addition, it’s especially exciting that I am co-owner and practice leader of my own company. In the past, when working in big firms, I experienced that between having good ideas and turning those into reality (if rolled out at all), a lot of time was spent and lost. My current partners (Nihat Kurt and Dominique Coenen) and myself, when we want to further improve or have a good idea, we set our minds to it and implement it. That is a liberating feeling.
A: How people are so scared of immigration and how politicians can feed on that fear. Immigration has always been part of human history. We have also seen what that fear can lead to, Brexit for instance. I believe fear is a poor basis for decision making, unreliable and unpredictable. For me personally, global immigration is about opportunities. I find it interesting to constructively think of solutions of how we can make immigration work.
A: We should make sure that the global mobility programs are always aligned with company philosophy and strategy.
A: Global mobility is a multi-disciplinary specialism, and therefore specialists need to step up and companies should seek their guidance.
A: Instead of only looking at highly skilled personnel (managers, specialists) it might be required to expand the reach and look more at blue collar workers.
A: We can see a clear focus on the use of technology in global mobility and at the same time we are seeing that multinationals are enlarging the in-house global mobility teams. The use of technology is a positive development, as it usually enhances efficiency. On the other hand, adding more people to in-house global mobility teams does not necessarily mean that it will increase quality. As there currently aren’t many qualified global mobility specialists, this could mean that more people will bring less quality into the design and application of global mobility programs.