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Going Global: 12 Best Countries to Expand Your Business Internationally

January 26, 2017

12 Best Countries to Expand Your Business Internationally

On December 21, Forbes magazine published its annual “Best Countries for Business” list for 2017, ranking the “business friendliness” of 139 countries based on 11 factors covering the legal and economic aspects impacting business. As Pro-Link GLOBAL prepares for the new year ahead, we reviewed this year’s list with interest and were encouraged to find that in the top countries for business this year we could confidently assure our clients… Pro-Link GLOBAL has your back.

What is Keiretsu?

In addition to our brick-and-mortar regional offices and in-house Immigration Specialists on the ground in other key countries throughout the world, Pro-Link operates its Keiretsu GLOBAL group of more than 1,800 Immigration Specialists stretching across over 170 countries around the globe. Keiretsu is the Japanese word meaning “group” or “system.” In the business world, it has come to refer to a powerful alliance of companies who work together towards a common goal. At Pro-Link GLOBAL, it’s the driving philosophy behind our network of immigration providers that empowers us to reach globally – while simultaneously acting locally – for our clients around the world. Keiretsu GLOBAL gives all of our clients, not matter their size or global footprint, access to best-in-class support for their corporate immigration needs in virtually any nation in the world, coupled with the concierge service of our dedicated Pro-Link GLOBAL counsel and client relationship professionals.  

The “Top 12” Countries for Business (according to Forbes)

Whether you are an established player on the global stage or planning to become one, Pro-Link GLOBAL has your back in 2017 in more than 170 countries, including Forbes’ top 12 countries for business. (You can check out the other 125 here. There are other great countries for business throughout the world, and we’ve got most of those covered too.)

#1 Sweden – New this year at the top spot, up from #5 last year. A booming economy and recent trend toward less government regulation makes Sweden hard to beat for multinational companies. Employment authorization for foreign nationals is still comparatively quick and easy, despite Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis. See our Immigration Dispatches last year of May 9 and April 26 for the latest immigration news.

#2 New Zealand – Claims the #2 spot again this year. Traditionally an easy place to start and run a new business, New Zealand has been corporate immigration-friendly, but large immigration numbers in recent years brought some minor tightening to regulations. See our Immigration Dispatches last year of October 31 and May 2 for the latest immigration news.

#3 Hong Kong – Recently also ranked by Business Insider as #3 most expensive for companies, HK still remains perennially strong for business with its huge financial sector and entrepreneurial environment. As with any high-demand destination, there is periodic immigration rule tightening, but it’s still open for business. See our Immigration Dispatch last year of August 8 to learn more about local recruitment requirements.

#4 Ireland – Still holding steady at #4 from last year, with a low corporate tax rate and affluent workforce, Ireland will only look more attractive for multinational businesses as Brexit plays out next door in the UK. There have been some significant improvements to the corporate immigration system lately. See our Global Brief of August 10, 2016 and Immigration Dispatches last year of September 12, September 19, and October 31 for the details.

#5 United Kingdom – Still a great country for business, but the elephant in the room remains Brexit. The shocking 2016 development admittedly opens a whole host of questions for the future and especially for corporate mobility between the UK and the EU. See our Global Brief of June 27, 2016 and download our e-book “60 Days After Brexithere for our extensive Brexit coverage.

#6 Denmark – Down from last year’s #1 spot, but there’s stiff competition in the Nordic region with neighbors Sweden, Finland, and Norway also highly ranked on the list. Still a great business climate, but the current administration is somewhat less immigration-friendly, mainly because of Europe’s current refugee crisis. See our Immigration Dispatch last year of June 13 for the latest news.

#7 Netherlands – Up two spots from last year’s list, we can attest to the welcoming business atmosphere in the Netherlands with our Amsterdam office celebrating its one-year anniversary on January 3. The forward-thinking government adopted the EU Intra-Company Transfer Directive in November, which has the potential for major benefits for business in Europe. See our Global Brief of November 22, 2016 and our white paper “EU ICT Permit White Paper: Potential Game Changer for Mobilityhere.

#8 Finland – A stable and predictable regulatory environment and a low corporate tax rate (20 percent) make Finland attractive for international business. A recent survey by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ranked Finland as the world’s biggest contributor to global innovation. Interestingly, the capital Helsinki has the world’s second-highest concentration of commercially successful app developers, behind only the US’s Silicon Valley.

#9 Norway – Like its Nordic neighbor Finland, Norway stays competitive by boasting a stable and predictable regulatory environment, a relatively low (but not as low as Finland) corporate tax rate, and a highly-skilled workforce. Also like Finland, the corporate immigration process is relatively smooth, and both countries benefit from their membership in the Schengen area. For an overview of the corporate immigration scheme in Norway, see our country profile here.

#10 Canada – The consistent bright spot for international business in North America (far eclipsing its neighbor immediately to the south that languishes back at #23), due in part to the progressive attitude toward international trade and business, particularly in regards to corporate immigration. We like what we are hearing about Canada’s Global Skills Strategy and future immigration improvements. See our Immigration Dispatches of November 14 and December 19 for the latest immigration news.

#11 Australia – Up three spots from last year and still a great open market, if the politicians don’t shortsightedly limit employment-based immigration through possible upcoming reforms. See our “Kickstart 2017: 9 Global Mobility Changes You Need to Know Now” blog of January 4, 2017, and view our Australian 457 Visa Webinar here.

#12 Singapore – Down four spots from last year, but we still like Singapore for international business, and our APAC regional office in Singapore has your needs covered. Business Insider’s recent survey reported the cost of doing business in Singapore has actually gone down over the last several years. However, there has been some tightening of immigration rules, and the expat population has decreased somewhat, mainly due to competition from other attractive APAC business venues. See our white paper “Singapore Moves to Protect Its Own Labor Forcehere.

Pro-Link GLOBAL Has Got Your Back in 2017

That’s our quick view on Forbes’ top 12. There are currently 196 countries in the world in which companies can do business, and each country presents its own set of opportunities and challenges. High among those challenges is navigating the constantly-changing world of corporate immigration. But wherever you chose to do business, know that Pro-Link GLOBAL has your back when it comes to your corporate immigration needs.

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Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. We would like to remind you that Immigration laws are fluid and can change at a moment's notice without any warning. Please reach out to your immigration specialist or your client relations manager at Pro-Link GLOBAL should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by your Pro-Link GLOBAL Knowledge Management Team. We work with our Keiretsu GLOBAL partners throughout the world to provide you these continual updates.

Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department ( with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.