Hiring International Workers in the Age of Remote Economy

Businesses looking for international remote employees
“Looking elsewhere” is about as human a concept as hunting, gathering, and farming. If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, you’ll have to search further afield. For a knowledge-driven company to do that you have two simple choices. First, transplant a skilled foreign worker into the US for long-term (though not permanent) work. And second, remote placement. Enter the age of remote economy.

Looking elsewhere” is about as human a concept as hunting, gathering, and farming. If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, you’ll have to search further afield. For a knowledge-driven company to do that, you have two simple choices. First, relocate a skilled foreign worker into the US for long-term (though not permanent) work. And second, remote placement.

With the pandemic came an evolution of the workplace. Gone are the days when “looking elsewhere” was a second option. It is now a preference for most businesses. After all, if you’re getting the best of global talent while also saving money, why not? It is the era of better work-life balance for the employees; they get to work in the environment that suits them best without sticking to a rigid schedule. On the other hand, employers get to hire from a global pool of talent without bringing the employee to the actual location. This adds more diversity and perspective to a business.  

But have you ever battled a pang of guilt when applying the “remote recruitment” principle to your business? Like you’re doing injustice to your own countrymen? Forget the political gobbledygook and think about what’s right for your business! 

And if you do, you’ll agree with what New York Times op-ed columnist, Thomas L. Friedman said: “attracting the first-round intellectual draft choices from around the world is the most important competitive advantage a knowledge economy can have.”

How to Bring International Workers into the US

The first step is to think about why you should bring an international worker into the US when you could easily take advantage of the remote economy?

If you still want to fly someone in, you need to know a few things. Companies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sectors often bring foreign workers to fill highly skilled positions. It’s not only a matter of competitive advantage. Hiring foreign workers may be a simple case of shortage of skilled local workers. 

The shortage may not necessarily stem from a lack of qualified candidates overall. But qualified American candidates often prefer working for corporate powerhouses and bigwigs, leaving mid-sized businesses to recruit skilled international workers.

The customary way to relocate a non-resident worker to the US is by sponsoring an H-1B visa. 

Here are some must-know facts about the H-1B visa:  

  •   The H-1B visa allows non-resident foreign workers to fill a skilled position.
  •   The visa is granted for three years and can be extended for a further three years.
  •   The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has set a cap of 65,000/year for H-1B visas. Yes, the behemoths (like Microsoft and Apple) also compete within that 65,000 bracket.
  •   You cannot pay a foreign hire working on an H-1B visa less than their American counterpart.
  •   H-1B visa application includes filling several forms, such as the ETA 9035.
  •   As the employer, it’s your onus to show that the position cannot be filled locally and is not open due to lockout or strike.
  •   You also need to show that the international hire is authorized to work in the US.
  •   Rules regarding hiring H-1B visa workers are regularly updated, and you have to comply always.
  •  H-1B visa workers are allowed to have their families live with them while they work in the US.
  •  The process of relocating a foreign worker can run into months and cost a few thousand dollars. 

Big companies have entire departments dedicated to hiring skilled foreign workers; you’ll likely need legal consultations to figure the process out. At least what the process lacks in simplicity it makes up for in long-windedness. 

Granted, it’s easy to be glib about it. This was an employer’s best option in the search for top talents a few decades  ago. After the pandemic, it’s not just employees but also employers who figured out that a remote work model works the best for both. There’s no big process of visas and legalities.  Now there is a completely different way of hiring foreign workers:  – remote placement. 

Benefits And Advantages of Hiring International Remote Employees

1. Workers are More Productive 

According to research, Remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts. They’re able to accomplish more per day and the attrition rate in a remote setting is lesser compared to a traditional office setup. Remote workers enjoy a better work-life balance owing to a lack of long commute times and other distractions. They’re able to focus on their work better and save more money and time. They’re generally less stressed than in-office professionals. This also translates to their work. All of this means you’ll see good quality of work and timely delivery of your business projects. 

2. Your Business Saves More Money 

You don’t need to bear the hefty rentals of a physical office nor do you have to bear the maintenance costs that come with it. When you hire international remote employees, the only thing you need to pay is the salary of the employee along with some paid apps and tools, if needed. 

3. Global Talent Means Diversity in Ideas

You have access to global talent. When you hire international remote employees, you also expand your creativity pool. People from different parts of the world come with different cultural upbringing and hence, different experiences. More perspectives can help your business with better solutions.

4. No visa hassles

Your headache of going through the entire process of bringing an international employee to your location doesn’t exist with remote work. You will still be working with talent from another region but without all the legal formalities of visa, travel, etc that come with it.

How to Take Advantage of the Remote Economy to Boost Your Business

The dissolution of geographic borders is a genuine phenomenon when it comes to hiring the most suitable talent for your business. 

While the process of H-1B visa application chains you to legalities and fines for non-compliance, remote placement loosens the shackles quite a bit. Remote placement allows you to explore a bigger pool of talent and gives you the flexibility to choose what works best for you. Remote recruitment also enables you to have a diverse work culture that bridges gaps between various communities across the globe.

How remote placement beats sponsoring H-1B visas: 

  • Cuts down on heaps of paperwork.
  • No visa processing fees.
  • No restriction on the duration a remote worker can work for you.
  • No restrictions as to when or how many remote workers you can hire.
  • No big corporation is vying for a fixed number of visas.
  • No hassle of relocation or accommodation.
  • And the cherry on top, you are under no obligation to pay your remote employees the same rates as your American workers. Nor is your hiring process susceptible to the whims of any political administration.

Sure, technically, a globally distributed team is all that and a bag of chicharrones. Does that mean it’s entirely sans complications? Well…not wholly. Here’s where things get a little hairy.

Challenges Of Remote Recruitment

1. Classification of workers

The way you classify your workers will affect your payroll and employee tax withholdings. For contract workers, there is virtually no rule, and they can be paid via services like PayPal, and in most cases, you don’t need to withhold their taxes.

But for employees on the payroll, you’ll have to figure out payment methods based on the employees’ home rules and may even need to have a local presence in the foreign country to make payment.

Then why not exclusively hire contract employees? Because according to the US labor laws you can’t have contractors fulfill roles of full-time employees.

2. Taxation

Withholding employee tax at source is another topic of controversy. When to withhold and how much, when not to, do you need a filled W-8BEN form…all vary with employers and the remote employees (and their residency status). And you’ll need to figure out what is the correct option for you.

Besides, there are other issues like where to look for the right workers. Because as good as it sounds, your remote placements need to be able to fit in with your company culture, keep up with the demands of working hours that suit you, and communicate fluently with the rest of your team.

These challenges aren’t very big and can be solved easily with the help of an expert remote recruitment agency.

Where to Find Quality Remote International Employees?

It isn’t an easy job to find the right international candidate for your business. You need to ensure that the candidate is a good fit culturally besides fitting all the other criteria too. Where do you find these people who will help your business reach the next level while sitting miles away from you?

Read more: Which Country Has the World’s Best Programmers? Here are the Stats

There are some platforms that can help you find the international remote worker you’re looking for.

1. Professional Networking Platforms – LinkedIn

If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn, you’ve been living under a rock. LinkedIn is a networking platform that allows employees and employers to connect. Professionals from across the globe post insights and opinions from their industry, connect with each other, and seek/provide job opportunities.

As a business owner or a recruiter, you can post a job opening, and you will receive applications for the role from all over the world. Make sure to mention that the position is remote. 

Once you receive applications, you can shortlist the ones you like and proceed with an interview and the next steps of your hiring process.

2. Job Portals – flexjobs.com

Go with the tried and tested route. Job portals have been around since forever. They exist for a reason – hire and get hired. If you’ve ever hired a candidate after vetting multiple resumes, they probably came in via a job portal you used to promote a job opening at your company.

While you can use the same job portals to find an international candidate, it is advisable to use a platform that specializes in posting remote positions and finding remote candidates only. This could save you a lot of time as you won’t have to go through resumes of people who applied thinking yours is a non-remote position. Also, international candidates looking for remote work will be more inclined to look for job opportunities on a platform that specializes in remote job openings. 

Flexjobs has been around for a long time and specifically caters to those who are looking for and providing remote work opportunities. 

3. Boutique Remote Recruitment Agencies – DistantJob

Don’t prescribe medicines if you aren’t a doctor. The same goes for every kind of specialized work. You’re a business with so many things to take care of. You’re interested in hiring an international remote worker, and if you haven’t hired international workers before, you’re unlikely to know the strategies and details.

You can go ahead with it, but you’ll end up wasting your time and resources. You’d rather focus all of that and your energies on things you do the best for your business. A boutique remote recruitment agency is your doctor here. They know what to find, where to look, and solve your problems with what they find.

If you’re looking to hire  more remote employees and changing your work model to a remote or a hybrid work model, a remote recruitment agency is your best bet. Distant Job has been around for a long time. We know all the processes for remote hiring and onboarding. Hiring your next international remote employee will be a breeze.

Hire International Workers for Your Business 

If you’re tempted to hire remote employees but don’t want to dip your toe in the murky international recruitment waters, then let a specialized remote recruitment agency help you. We’ll find your best-suited talent from anywhere on the globe.  They’ll work on par with the rest of your team and, as an added cache, bring diversity and new ideas to the table. All while cutting your costs and giving you a leg up. You don’t have to worry about tax holdings and employee classifications – we got your back. Too good to be true? Nah, it’s what we do every day. Let us do it for you now.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

or... Subscribe to our newsletter and get exclusive content and bloopers

Ria Ghose

Ria Ghose

Ria Ghose is an SEO copywriter who helps businesses connect with their ideal customers. To learn how SEO copywriting can help your business, email [email protected]