Cayman’s Economic Zone – is it the panacea for Indian tech companies that can’t get H1-b visas?
Extending its international reach into Asia and the thriving Indian Technology industry, Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) Cayman’s special economic zone, announced this week a business development consultancy partnership with Abhishek Mathur, an attorney with considerable legal experience and extensive contacts and connections in India’s IT industry. As in-house legal counsel for some of India’s top local and global companies, Mathur analyzed business problems and assisted with solutions, giving him hands-on knowledge of the inner workings of Indian enterprise. He sees a huge opportunity for Cayman Enterprise City in India and he’s excited to be a part of it.
“The most important points to be kept in mind are that though India is presently going through an economic surge, it is practically a very tough task setting up a company in India and getting it up to speed. People are looking for better opportunities all the time,” he said. “Many people have the necessary expertise and capital available to them, but are wary of starting up or expanding their operations.”
Mathur says Indian entrepreneurs and businesses focused on IT exports also face major hurdles in their own country; namely bureaucratic red-tape, restrictions of the US H-1B visa regime – which is getting even tougher on Indians by the day.
As the US economy improves, the demand for H-1B visas is increasing, and while the largest number of them currently go to workers from India, Mathur says the percentage of visas being issued to Indian nationals is declining and this results in Indian IT service providers being unable to cater to the increasing demand in the US market. He is certain some companies are suffering direct revenue losses because they depend largely on an Indian immigrant workforce to deliver the services;
“This issue affects the whole IT industry in general and the most vocal to voice these concerns have been Indian IT giants like TCS, Wipro, HCL and Infosys,” he explains. “The middle tier and the smaller companies also face the brunt of H-1B and L1 rejections because their clients expect the delivery to be done from the US, or at least in the US time zone, by people who are less expensive than US citizens.”
Mathur plans to tout Cayman Enterprise City as the perfect solution for them.
“CEC is set up in one of the most secure financial jurisdictions in the world – the Cayman Islands,” he says. “Indian companies can hope to enter the US, Canada and Latin American markets by opening an office in CEC. Also, the idea of “near-shoring” is gaining ground in India.”
Benefits offered by CEC which offers a fast-track business licensing and work permit process with a number of licensing packages − from affordable one-person startups, to customized offers for companies needing to expand and relocate several staff. Proximity to the US is also a big advantage – Cayman is an hour’s flight from Miami and 3 ½ hours from New York City and is on the Eastern Time Zone.
The Cayman government granted the zone concessions to draw international companies from five high-tech sectors; internet and technology, media and marketing, biotechnology, commodities and derivatives, and academia.
Cayman Enterprise City clients take advantage of Cayman’s tax-free environment and an offshore presence enables international companies to be more competitive in the global marketplace, and to generate tax-exempt active business income in the Cayman Islands. These businesses also enjoy 100% exemption from corporate, capital gains and sales taxes, and offshore intellectual property.
The Cayman Islands offers a first class lifestyle with a warm climate year round. It is home to the world famous Seven Mile Beach and has incredible scuba diving. A safe, secure British Overseas Territory with good schools, world-class restaurants, a sound infrastructure and sophisticated service providers, Cayman was recently named ‘The friendliest Place on earth to live and work’ by Forbes magazine. Cayman is a cosmopolitan country with residents from over 140 different countries, with a small but vibrant community of Indian business people.
There are now over 115 companies in the special economic zone. Businesses are currently accommodated in four interim zone buildings, including the newly acquired Flagship Building on the waterfront in George Town. Cayman Enterprise City expects to break ground on a new state of the art main campus this year.
Mathur, who earned a masters of law degree from the UK and a comparative law certification from the US, is a Jodhpur native who studied in Delhi, and is now based in Bangalore, India’s IT capital.
“India is sitting on a huge IT-talent pool and enormous individual capital but all this is under-utilized due to the business environment, not being very conducive,” he says. “CEC comes as a very good alternative to these problems. It is encouraging to know that they have the full and active support of the Cayman government and its top brass.”
About Cayman Enterprise City
Cayman Enterprise City is a Special Economic Zone in the Cayman Islands focused on knowledge-based industries, technology companies and specialized services businesses. With a dedicated Government Authority and guaranteed fast-track processes, International companies can quickly and efficiently establish a genuine physical presence in Cayman. This enables businesses take advantage of Cayman’s jurisdictional benefits which include zero corporate tax, zero income tax and zero capital gains tax, along with a raft of special zone concessions and incentives. These concessions were designed to attract international companies from five specific high-tech sectors; internet and technology, media and new-media ventures, biotechnology, commodities and derivatives, and academia.
See also today’s iNews Cayman story “H1-B visas: Would lifting the cap really attract the ‘brightest and best’ to the US?”