Hiring International Workers in 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. Enter the age of remote economy. We can take you there, all you have to do is get in touch.
But have you ever battled a pang of guilt when applying this principle to recruitment?
Oh, 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.”
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.
How to Bring International Workers into the US
Step #1, spend some time thinking about why you should bring an international worker into the US when you could much…much easily take advantage of the remote economy?
If you’re going to be adamant about flying someone in, this is what you need to know. Companies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sectors most often bring foreign workers to fill highly skilled positions. It’s not only a matter of competitive advantage. Hiring foreign workers maybe a simple case of shortage of skilled local workers.
The shortage may not necessarily stem from 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.
A dozen 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
- H-1B visa workers are allowed to have their families live with them while they work in
- The process of relocating a foreign worker can run into months and cost a few thousand
- 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 decade or two ago. But thanks to technology, now there is a completely different way of hiring foreign workers – remote placement.
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.
How remote placement beats sponsoring H-1B visas:
- Cuts down on heaps of paperwork.
- No visa processing fees.
- No restriction on 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:
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.
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.
If you’re tempted to hire remote employees but don’t want to dip your toe in the murky international recruitment waters, then let DistantJob help you. We know what’s what and more. We’ll find your best-suited talent from anywhere in the globe necessary so that 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.