Are you considering hiring an international remote worker and want to find out more about how to sponsor a work visa? Or perhaps, you need alternatives for employment sponsorship that will still allow you to hire remote foreign employees legally?
Whatever your situation, this article will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. We will answer the most common questions about employee sponsorship and explore the best methods for hiring remote foreign nationals legally.
1. Do You Need To Offer Employment Sponsorship for Remote Workers From Another Country?
You only need to sponsor a US Visa if you plan for a foreign national to work and reside in the US as a non-immigrant. The most common type of visa for this purpose is the H-1B Visa, which allows for temporary, non-immigrant residence.
Later on, if the employee wishes to obtain permanent residence in the US, they can work toward acquiring a green card.
Here are 5 steps to sponsoring your remote worker with the help of an H 1-B Visa. As follows:
- Determine eligibility: Ensure that both you (the employer) and the employee meet the H-1B visa requirements.
- File a Labor Condition Application (LCA): The LCA is a compulsory certificate that the employer must obtain from the Department of Labor (DOL) before petitioning for a work visa on their remote worker's behalf. Before filling out the LCA, the employer must also fill out the form ETA-9035 and obtain a prevailing wage determination (PWD) proof for the foreign employee.
- Prepare and submit the H-1B petition: The process includes filing Form I-129 and other required supporting documentation. The supporting documentation includes the visa sponsorship letter with the exact job description and tasks, employment dates, salary, contact information, and separately, the employee’s bachelor’s degree or any advanced degrees, training certificates, resume, etc.
- Pay the H-1B related fees: Here are the mandatory fees that must be paid to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when submitting the H-1B petition.
- Wait for approval: The USCIS will review your immigrant petition and make a decision based on the sponsorship documents you provided. This can take up to 13 months unless you pay the $2500 premium processing fee to have it processed in 15 working days.
2. Do Employers Pay for Green Cards for Relocating International Remote Workers to the US?
If you have international remote workers who plan to relocate to the US, you will have to shoulder all fees associated with the green card application process. This includes all costs involved in filing the necessary paperwork and going through the necessary steps to obtain a green card.
It is also important to note that employees have the option of hiring private legal counsel at their own expense. However, the employer is still responsible for paying the fees associated with the green card application process, regardless of whether the employee hires a lawyer or not.
3. How To Hire Remote Foreign Nationals Legally Without Employee Sponsorship
There are three common methods for hiring remote foreign employees from other countries legally without sponsoring an immigrant work visa or other nonimmigrant visas:
1. Set up a legal subsidiary in that country
This is a traditional method that involves establishing a subsidiary company in the worker's home country. The best advantage is that employees are considered tax residents in their home country, so they need to account for their own taxes.
If you are a small business, this method can be complex and time-consuming because it requires a significant monetary investment, as well as time to research local laws.
2. Partner with a global employer of record (EoR)
A Global Employer of Record (EoR) is a third-party legal entity that acts as the official employer for remote foreign employees without needing to create a subsidiary or branch in the worker’s home country. They take on all legal and administrative responsibilities, including handling labor and payroll laws, tax implications, and other employment-related requirements.
EoR provides a simplified and cost-effective solution, especially for small businesses, allowing them to hire foreign skilled workers without much hustle and quickly target diverse talent from one source.
Before going through this, however, it's best to consult an HR professional or legal expert to ensure compliance with all local labor laws and regulations.
3. Hire and engage with international independent contractors
This is one of the best alternatives to hiring full-time employees. Independent contractors are considered self-employed individuals, therefore are not required to possess a work visa or need a visa sponsorship.
In addition to providing greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness for the employer, independent contractors' payroll and tax requirements are much simpler. They do their own taxes and according to the IRS, US employers hiring remote workers from other countries are not required to withhold or report any US federal income tax.
4. Should You Use a Hiring Platform for Hiring Remote Workers?
Although using a hiring platform to find and hire remote workers is convenient, the quality of the candidates is not guaranteed.
Consider teaming up with a recruitment company specializing in hiring remote workers that will act like a partner and walk you through every step. Unlike a typical hiring platform, a recruitment company will provide a higher level of attention and personalization and tailor their search according to your needs.
Their team of experts will use their expertise to identify top-performing candidates and provide you with a selection of pre-screened and qualified individuals, saving you time and effort in the hiring process.
5. What Are the Risks of Employing a Foreign Worker in Another Country?
Some of the most common risks associated with employing foreign workers in another country are:
Language and cultural barriers
Foreign employees may struggle with expressing themselves which can affect the quality of communication and lead to misunderstandings with coworkers or customers. This usually results in decreased productivity and customer satisfaction.
Low internet connection speed
Unstable internet can hinder the successful completion of tasks that require high-speed internet access and cause disruptions in the workflow.
Challenges with reference and criminal background checks
Due to the distance and different time zones, it may be difficult to verify references or conduct criminal background checks on foreign workers.
6. What Tax Paperwork Do You Need When Hiring Remote Workers?
The Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, also known as the W-8BEN Form, is the only compulsory document an employer requires when hiring foreign workers.
This form has two purposes:
- Ensures that the foreign individual pays the correct taxes in their home country
- Exempts the employer from withholding US taxes on any payments made to the foreign worker
To fill out the W-8BEN form successfully, the foreign worker must provide accurate personal details. More specifically: name, address, Social Security Number (if applicable), date of birth, and any other relevant information about their status as a non-US resident.
7. From Which Countries Should I Hire Remote Workers?
You can hire remote workers from various countries and continents, such as Europe (Poland, Germany, Denmark, Ukraine, Spain, etc.), India, Indonesia, or Latin American countries (Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Chile, etc.).
If you are an American firm, we recommend nearshoring remote workers from Latin American countries. Here are several advantages to consider when hiring LatAm talent:
- Time zone and proximity: Latin American countries operate within similar time zones as the US, making collaboration and scheduling meetings less cumbersome; you don’t have to call anyone to work in the middle of the night if there’s an urgency.
- Lower salary rates: The average monthly salary rates in Latin American countries are lower compared to the US, ranging from $1800 to less than $200.
- Great work culture: Latin America has a rich work culture that emphasizes hard work, commitment, and professionalism.
- A large pool of top talent: Hiring from Latin America offers access to a diverse workforce with fresh perspectives yet united by a shared cultural ethos and work ethic.
If nearshoring is the right choice for you, Near is a premium platform that can help you hire the best pre-vetted talent from Latin America in under 3 weeks.
We have access to a large pool of over 15,000 pre-vetted and English-proficient candidates who will work within US time zones. Most importantly, if you want to expand your workforce in a more affordable way, we can help you source the best staff that can cost you up to 70% less than hiring local talent.
Hiring international remote workers and entering a foreign market might feel overwhelming, but it also comes with many benefits. Namely, you have lower costs than the local market, a wider pool of specialized talent, and a fast and seamless hiring process.
According to recent data from 500 companies around the world, 88% of organizations agree that by hiring international remote workers, they realized exponential cost savings, and 92% expect savings in the next two to three years.
If you want to learn more about how you can hire foreign remote workers for your business, fill out this form.