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Challenges of hiring virtual assistants in Latin America and How to Solve Them

15 Challenges of Hiring Virtual Assistants in Latin America and How to Solve Them

Learn more about 15 challenges of hiring LatAm VAs and discover how to overcome them with our solutions for hiring top talent.

15 Challenges of Hiring Virtual Assistants in Latin America and How to Solve Them


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Key Takeaways

  1. Companies hire virtual assistants in Latin America for various reasons, including accessing a large pool of skilled talent, saving on labor costs, and taking advantage of Latin America’s similar culture and time zones to the US.
  2. Although hiring Latin American virtual assistants is beneficial in many ways, it comes with a range of challenges, from building trust to overcoming language differences and cultural barriers to integrating remote workers into your team.
  3. You can overcome these challenges by utilizing various solutions, such as setting up effective communication channels, providing appropriate onboarding and training programs, and partnering with a remote hiring firm like Near.

Hiring virtual assistants (VAs) has become increasingly popular, especially in the modern world where remote work is becoming the norm. And with Latin America (LatAm) emerging as a top destination for outsourcing talent, many business owners are considering hiring VAs from this region.

While there are numerous benefits to hiring LatAm VAs, such as cost effectiveness and access to highly skilled professionals, it also comes with its own set of challenges. As an employer, it’s important to be aware of these challenges and know how to overcome them for a successful remote hiring process.

This article will discuss 15 challenges of hiring LatAm VAs and provide effective solutions. 

Why Do Companies Hire Virtual Assistants From Latin America?

Before delving into the challenges of hiring LatAm VAs, it’s important to understand why companies are increasingly turning to this region for their VA needs. 

Cost effectiveness

One of the main reasons for hiring VAs in LatAm is cost efficiency. LatAm has a lower cost of living compared with many other regions, making it more affordable for companies to hire high-quality talent.

Large talent pool

LatAm also has a large pool of highly skilled professionals, many of whom are fluent in English and have experience working with international clients. This makes the region an attractive option for companies looking for VAs who can handle various tasks efficiently and effectively.

Compatible time zones

Time zone compatibility is another advantage of hiring VAs in LatAm. Many countries in this region share similar time zones with the US, making it easier for companies to coordinate and communicate with their VAs.

Cultural similarities

Finally, cultural alignment is a crucial factor that makes LatAm an appealing destination for hiring VAs. The region has strong ties to Western culture and shares many similarities with the US, making it easier for companies to work with VAs who have a good understanding of their business culture.

15 Challenges of Hiring LatAm VAs and How To Solve Them

Let’s examine 15 of the challenges you might face when hiring VAs in LatAm, along with strategies to overcome them effectively. 

1. Language barrier

One of the biggest challenges of hiring VAs from LatAm is the language barrier. While English proficiency in Latin American countries like Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina is generally high, there may still be some communication issues due to differences in dialects and accents. 

It’s important to note that learning English is no easy feat. While there are plenty of Spanish-to-English courses and learning options, it’s difficult to find a course tailored exactly to your dialect and learning style. To give you some perspective, Mexico houses 68 indigenous languages with 364 dialects

In spite of this, top remote virtual assistants in LatAm often have excellent English language skills.


Look for VAs with experience working with US companies or who have a neutral accent that is easy for your team to understand. You may also consider hiring a bilingual VA or providing language training to help bridge any communication gaps. 

Be patient with your LatAm workers as they learn, and try to find them help that is specific to their region and dialect.

2. Time zone differences

Given how big LatAm is, some time zone differences exist with US-based companies (especially those on the West Coast). 

Although the time differences between the US and LatAm are much smaller than between other regions, any difference in time zones could potentially affect previously established work routines and lead to difficulties in coordination, especially if the VA is expected to participate in time-sensitive tasks or team meetings.

VAs may also face personal challenges adjusting to non-traditional work hours if they’re expected to synchronize with a time zone several hours ahead or behind their local time.

Furthermore, not all LatAm countries observe daylight saving time, or the changes may occur on different dates. This inconsistency can result in confusion and misalignment between you and your VA’s schedules, potentially leading to missed deadlines or appointments.


One solution to this challenge is to establish clear communication protocols from the beginning. Set specific working hours for your VA that overlap with your own, or have them work during regular local business hours. Utilizing project management tools such as Trello or Asana can also help both parties keep track of tasks and deadlines. 

3. Cultural differences

Although the cultures of LatAm and the US have many similarities, small cultural nuances and differences can be a challenge when hiring VAs from LatAm. As an employer, it’s important to understand that LatAm cultural norms and customs may differ from those in the US. 

Workplace etiquette and expectations around formality, communication styles, and hierarchical relationships can vary greatly from country to country. For example, some cultures strongly emphasize personal relationships, which might affect how feedback is given and received. 

Even small differences like attitude toward punctuality may be noticeable if “on time” in one culture is viewed as late in another. 


The key to overcoming this challenge is to set up clear communication channels and set expectations from the get-go. It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with the culture of the country where your VA will be working. This will help you better understand their perspective and avoid any potential conflicts.

4. Technical issues

A very common challenge that employers may face when hiring LatAm VAs is technical issues. These can range from poor internet connection and power outages to outdated technology and compatibility problems. 

Such issues can lead to miscommunication and difficulty collaborating with your remote VA. Although some technical problems are unavoidable, it’s important to prepare to prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.


Before hiring a VA, learn about their specific region’s infrastructure, and make sure to thoroughly discuss their technical setup. Consider providing them with the necessary equipment or budget for upgrades if needed. Additionally, have backup communication channels in case of any technical difficulties.

5. Hiring process

The hiring process for VAs in LatAm can be time-consuming and overwhelming. You may struggle with recruitment tasks like finding qualified candidates, conducting interviews across different time zones, and managing paperwork for remote employees. 


Use a 360 hiring solution like Near to simplify the hiring process. Near provides access to a pool of highly skilled LatAm VAs and handles all aspects of the hiring process, from screening resumes to scheduling interviews and handling paperwork.

6. Legal considerations

When hiring VAs from LatAm, it’s important to consider the legal aspects of remote working in that region. Different countries have different laws and regulations regarding employment, taxes, and contracts. This can be overwhelming for employers who are not familiar with the legal system in a specific country. 

You must also consider the laws in your country regarding remote workers. Some may fall under the umbrella of independent contractors, while others may require special forms and documentation to be considered legal employees. You can learn more about the considerations related to federal income tax on the IRS website.


As we mentioned before, a reputable company like Near can help you navigate these legal considerations by providing expert knowledge and guidance on labor laws, tax requirements, and contract negotiations. 

Near also has a strong understanding of the local culture in LatAm, which can help bridge any potential cultural or communication barriers between you and your VAs.

7. Adaptability and change management

In the modern economy, you often need to quickly adapt to new technologies or methodologies. VAs in LatAm might have trouble with this because of a lack of resources, resistance to change due to cultural norms, or simply because they are not accustomed to a rapidly shifting work landscape.


One key to managing this challenge is implementing a culture of continuous improvement right from the beginning of the hiring process. Remote VAs need a willingness and ability to learn and grow.

Offer a comprehensive onboarding process that acquaints VAs with company values, particularly the importance of adaptability. Through regular check-ins and feedback sessions, create a supportive environment that encourages questions and open dialogue about changes.

8. Payment methods

Unlike local payments, which are often done through direct deposit or paper checks, employers may encounter difficulties with international wire transfers and currency conversions. 

Many remote workers are underpaid due to the cost of currency conversions and international wire transfers, among other factors. This is an important consideration for ensuring equitable management.


Partner with a comprehensive hiring service like Near that takes care of all payment processes for you. We offer multiple payment options, such as PayPal and Payoneer, making it easier to pay your LatAm VAs without worrying about international transactions.

9. Internet reliability and infrastructure

A consistent and fast internet connection is essential for effective remote work. However, VAs might struggle with connectivity in some parts of LatAm due to less developed internet infrastructure, power outages, or other technology-related disruptions. 

This could affect day-to-day operations and the VA’s ability to participate in important real-time discussions and collaborations. However, it is worth noting that efforts are being made to rapidly develop infrastructure across LatAm.


Discuss and assess the internet situation when hiring a VA from LatAm. This includes understanding their typical connection speeds, reliability of service, and contingency plans should their primary internet service fail.

Additionally, consider investing in your VAs’ infrastructure by offering stipends for high-speed internet plans or supporting the costs of backup solutions like mobile hotspots. 

For mission-critical roles, it may be even more important to hire VAs from Mexico or other countries with strong internet infrastructure to reduce the risk of productivity loss due to technical problems.

10. Building trust

As an employer, it can be challenging to trust someone you have never met in person. This is especially true when hiring VAs from a different country and culture. The fear of miscommunication, missed deadlines, or even potential scams can make it difficult to build trust with your VA.


To overcome this challenge, it’s important to thoroughly research and vet potential candidates before hiring them. You can also use platforms like Near that provide pre-screened and highly recommended professionals. Additionally, setting up regular check-ins and communication channels will help build trust over time.

11. Work-life balance

Latin American culture values family and personal life, which can sometimes clash with the demands of a VA role. Conflicting commitments or difficulty maintaining a work-life balance could result in missed deadlines or decreased productivity. 


Communicate clearly about expectations and boundaries from the beginning. Set realistic goals and deadlines that take into consideration the VA’s personal obligations. Offering flexible work hours or paid time off can also help your LatAm VAs maintain a healthy work-life balance.

12. Training remote workers

While hiring VAs from LatAm can offer cost savings, one of the main challenges is training these remote workers. Without proper training and clear expectations, it can be difficult for VAs to understand their roles and responsibilities in a company. 


To overcome this challenge, provide comprehensive onboarding and training programs that are tailored to the specific needs of your VAs. 

This could include video tutorials, virtual meetings, or even incorporating them into team-building activities with your in-house staff. It’s important to also have open communication channels for any questions or concerns the VA may have during this time.

13. Data security and privacy concerns

Data security is a significant concern for businesses, particularly when sensitive company or client information is involved. When working remotely, VAs in LatAm might not have access to the same cybersecurity infrastructure available in-office. 

There is also the legal aspect of data protection to consider, as different countries have varying laws and regulations regarding personal and business data privacy.


Strong data security protocols—including using secure, company-approved software and hardware where necessary—will help prevent unauthorized access. Regular training on best data practices and the legal implications of data breaches should also be provided.

Ensure that all VAs understand the importance of data protection and the measures they need to take to ensure that information is handled securely. These might include using a virtual private network (VPN), employing two-factor authentication, and maintaining current updates on all security software.

14. Team integration

Hiring VAs from LatAm means building a team remotely, which can be challenging for some employers. It’s important to establish strong communication and collaboration processes to ensure the success of remote teams. 

A study of more than 61,000 Microsoft employees found a transition to fully remote work at the company made for 25% less collaboration and 5% less time in meetings, despite tools being available to make both easier. 

This may not seem significant, but these elements are crucial to team success, and it should be taken into account that team building is significantly more difficult online unless you put in significant effort.


Utilize communication tools such as videoconferencing, project management software, and instant messaging platforms to stay connected with your LatAm VAs. Set clear expectations and roles for each team member, and encourage regular check-ins to maintain a cohesive team dynamic.

15. Managing performance remotely

Managing remote VAs can be challenging, especially when they are in a different country with a different culture and work style. It can be difficult to set expectations and track performance without physically being present.

Many companies have implemented time-tracking and surveillance software for their staff, especially those who transitioned to hybrid or fully remote during the pandemic. 

While these can make things easier, some employees feel violated by these tracking apps, and they can decrease trust and morale among your team, resulting in a more volatile environment.


Implement clear communication channels and establish regular check-ins to ensure that goals and tasks are understood and progress is being made. Project management tools or task-tracking software can keep track of assignments and deadlines (if embraced and deemed acceptable by your team).

Final Thoughts

Hiring virtual assistants (VAs) from LatAm can be a challenging process for employers, but it is also a great opportunity to tap into amazing talent and cost-effective solutions. By understanding the challenges involved and implementing effective strategies, you can ensure a successful remote hiring experience.

Near offers a 360 solution that takes care of all aspects of hiring VAs in LatAm, including finding, onboarding, paying, and retaining remote talent.

With our expertise in navigating the challenges of remote hiring and our extensive network of highly skilled professionals in LatAm, we can help you fill open positions in under 21 days.

Don’t let the challenges we’ve mentioned in this article discourage you from hiring VAs from LatAm. Embrace the benefits of remote work and let Near guide you in finding the best VAs for your company. 

Ready to get started? Take a look at our blog post on hiring a virtual administrative assistant, and take the first step toward building a successful remote team with Near.

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