Entrepreneurship and innovation are the keys to turbocharging today’s industries and unlocking job growth in the industries of tomorrow. Slovakia’s smaller size inspires Slovak innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue a global outlook, with products that appeal to the international marketplace. However, dynamic companies both here and in the United States often complain that bureaucratic difficulties in obtaining work visas are an impediment to their ability to attract the human capital they need.
As of January 1, changes to Slovak and U.S. law have made trans-Atlantic collaboration much easier, as our governments have successfully partnered to extend the validity period of U.S. visas for Slovak workers in the United States and of residency permits for American workers here in Slovakia. Both can now be issued for up to five years, a significant increase from the previous two-year limit. As a result, employees in both our countries will have to renew their visas or residency permits less often, saving significant time and expense.
As any of the new titans of tech will tell you, a modern company’s greatest asset in a knowledge-based economy is its workforce – its employees’ unique talents and boundless vision. For Slovakia’s entrepreneurs and innovators to “make it big” on the global stage and succeed in the globally competitive modern business landscape, they need to be able to share ideas with their colleagues abroad, exchanging knowledge and talent with peers in California as easily as with those in Kosice.
This improved and extended work visa agreement represents another positive step by the Slovak government to improve the business climate for entrepreneurs, following last year’s package of reforms designed to cut red tape, make it easier to start a business, and provide financial incentives for start-ups. The U.S. Embassy is excited to support this focus on fostering the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship. However, we also know the economic landscape will continue shift quickly as technology continues to accelerate the speed of innovation. We look forward to continuing our work together with Slovak partners on these important efforts in 2016 and beyond.