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How to be paid as a remote worker abroad for a United States company

Written by Gillian O'Brien
Gillian O'Brien

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With the rise of remote work, you no longer need to live in the US to work for a US company. You can move almost anywhere and still keep your job in the US, or you can find a new job in the US from abroad. 

On the other hand, working remotely for a US company can be tricky. For example, you need to make sure that you are eligible to work from the country you are located in. You need to be on top of your tax obligations in the US and maybe even the country you are in. Both you and your employer need to make payments in a manner compliant under local laws, preferably without extra fees.

Luckily, global payroll systems allow you to work from anywhere you’re eligible to work from. And working with an employer or record like Remote makes everything easier, with no cost to you.

Whether you’re dreaming of working for a US company, or you wish to move abroad while working for your current US employer, this guide is for you. We’ll break down how to find and secure a remote job, how to relocate while keeping your current job, and how to get paid compliantly.

What are the best ways to get paid as a remote employee abroad for a US company?

In order to pay employees in a country, a company must have a local legal entity in that country. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive and time-consuming to set up local legal entities. More often than enough, it’s out of reach for most businesses.

So how can you get paid by a US company while you live abroad? There are two main ways:

  • Using an Employer of Record

  • Working as an international contractor

Employer of record

Many companies work with an employer of record (EOR) to hire talent across the globe. An EOR like Remote shoulders the burden of setting up a local legal entity in the country where the employee lives. An EOR helps you hire employees, manage global payroll, take care of benefits and compliance all for a flat fee.

As an employee, the EOR is your legal employer and they will pay you just as any other company in that country would, in local currency with all relevant deductions. The process would look very much like it does when you work directly for a company.

EORs make sense for both employers and employees. The EOR has knowledge of local laws and codes so they keep everyone compliant. They get the employee paid legally and on time for a low fee to the employer.

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Remote is the G2 top-ranked multi-country payroll software

International contractor 

In the absence of a local legal entity or EOR, companies can pay their staff as international contractors rather than as employees. Generally, companies have far fewer obligations towards contractors. In most countries, companies don’t need to provide benefits such as health insurance or paid time off, nor do they need to deduct taxes on payroll.

This can be a much simpler solution for both contractors and companies. However, first make sure you are classified as a contractor and not an employee in your physical location. This is because the definition of a contractor can widely differ according to country. You might be classified as a contractor in Thailand but considered an employee in the Netherlands.

Confirming your employment classification is important as misclassification can cause legal and financial risks to both the individual and company. Consequences of misclassification can also vary depending on the country. 

If an international contractor model is the correct classification for your job, Remote’s contractor management services will help you work for your US company compliantly overseas.

Where do remote workers for US companies pay taxes?

Every country has its own tax code that outlines the responsibilities of taxpayers. In most countries, people pay taxes based on their residency, regardless of where their company is located.

So as a remote worker, you pay taxes to the country in which you reside. If you’re an employee, your employer or EOR should deduct taxes from your paycheck according to local law. If you’re a contractor, you are responsible for paying your own taxes in the country you reside.

Get your Choose Remote Toolkit and convince your boss to go remote!

Use the practical advice of our global HR experts and learn how to advocate for your organization to facilitate remote work.

How can I stay compliant and avoid misclassification while working for a US company abroad?

Your classification as an employee also depends on where you live. That means that if you move to another country, your classification may change depending on the rules and regulations of your new country. 

Risks of misclassification

The risks of misclassification are serious. They can include fines, penalties, and legal action. In addition, you can lose benefits such as paid time off, sick leaves, and health insurance if your employer incorrectly classifies your employment status. 

Avoiding misclassification

Since misclassification can bring negative consequences, you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. Here are some tips for avoiding misclassification:

  • Familiarize yourself with local regulations 

  • Update your employment contract

  • Work with a partner like Remote

Use our Contractor Compliance Checklist to avoid misclassification

Work through this checklist to help determine if a new hire should have a contractor or employee relationship.

How do I manage relocation abroad while working for a US company?

If you currently work for a US company and want to change your place of residence but not your job, here are some things to consider.

Work permits and visas

In order to work in a country, you must have a visa or work permit. Without proper permissions, you risk violating the law. Consequences for working illegally in a country can be severe and may include the following:

  • Fines and penalties

  • Reentry ban 

  • Deportation

  • Imprisonment

Make sure you have a full understanding of the employment regulations to make sure you are working compliantly under local laws. For more information on countries where Remote can support your employment, browse through Remote’s country explorer.

Compliance

Even if your job doesn’t change, you must still comply with your new country’s classification laws and local employment regulations. Failure to do so can result in serious penalties for both you and your company.

In addition, whenever a company pays a remote worker, they open themselves up to the risks of permanent establishment and co-employment. Make sure you review the new country’s laws and update your employment contract to ensure you’re working under correct employment conditions. 

Still unsure how to relocate? Check out our five steps to take before your remote move.

How do I get a new remote job for a US company abroad?

If you are currently looking for a remote job, you’re in luck. The demand for remote positions is continuously on the rise, so there are a lot of remote job opportunities out there. But how do you find and get the right job for you?

Find the right job

Finding the perfect job out of all the available remote jobs in the US can be daunting. Here are some guidelines to get you started.

  • Narrow down your search to companies that can legally hire you. Although remote work opens lots of doors, not every company is open to hiring people in every country. Don’t waste your time with companies who can’t pay you.

  • Look for a strong remote-first culture. Although many companies went remote in the wake of COVID-19, you want to be sure that your employer has a remote-first mindset that knows how to treat its remote workers.

  • Identify jobs with other people in your time zone or region. You might want some coworkers who are awake when you are!

  • Beware of partner-dependent companies. You could find yourself paying out of pocket for your employment.

Smiling woman happily working outside for her new remote job

How to find the best remote jobs

A guide to finding the best new remote jobs (and the best new remote talent). Our CEO Job van der Voort knows a thing or two about remote jobs so we collected a list of his best advice for remote job seekers.

Find the right remote job tools

In addition to the tips above, consider a comprehensive toolkit. With so many remote jobs available around the world, job-hunting can be more overwhelming than ever before.

That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive toolkit to help you find the best opportunities. And it’s all in one place so you don’t have to piece together information from all over the internet. Download the I Choose Remote toolkit now.

Follow best practices from recruitment experts

Once you’ve identified the best jobs for you, it’s time to go after it. Landing a remote job means presenting yourself to the hiring manager or recruiter in the best way possible – and doing it with a remote flair.

  • Use your network for connections to help you get your virtual foot in the door

  • Create a remote work presence on social media

  • Create a cover letter, application, and resume that demonstrate who you are, why you’re interested in the role, and how you can add value to the company.

Smiling remote worker happy with her new remote job

5 tactics from recruitment experts to find your dream remote job

If you’re worried about retaining flexibility at work, don’t panic — it’s never been easier to work remotely! And Remote is here to help. We’ve pulled expert insights from remote work leaders and others who have successfully advocated for themselves to find a more flexible work option. 

Ace your interview

Since COVID-19, much of the workforce has worked remotely in some capacity. You’ve probably worked from home and know how to handle a Zoom call, but have no experience in a remote interview. 

In addition to being prepared to demonstrate your value, you’ll need additional remote interview skills to land the job. Here are some tips to ace your online interview. 

  • Present yourself and your environment professionally. You might not usually dress up at home, but we recommend that you dress professionally just as you would for an in-person interview. And of course, check your background before your online interview.

  • Understanding the technology that might be used in the interview. Familiarize yourself with the conference software, and be prepared to use whiteboard tools and other applications.

  • Test in advance. No matter how many Zoom calls you’ve been on, this one is more important. Take the time beforehand to check your microphone and speakers, download any updates, and make sure your internet connection is strong.

recruiter reviewing the CV of a candidate over a video call for a remote job interview

Remote interview tips: 5 tactics to ace your job interview

If you are applying for fully remote roles, you need to be able to communicate effectively during a remote interview to demonstrate that you can work effectively with your remote team members in the same context. It’s more important than ever to know how to ace a remote interview. Remote’s internal recruitment team has prepared five practical tactics to give you the best odds and help you land your dream remote job.

Where are the world’s best destinations for remote work?

This is a big question and depends on a lot of factors. What’s best for one person might not work for another. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Tax rates: taxes can make a substantial difference in your paycheck.

  • Cost of living: the same paycheck won’t go as far in Paris as it would in the Philippines.

  • Weather: if you can’t handle long winters, you might need to look for more tropical destinations.

  • Language: will you be able to navigate through the world outside of your job?

  • Culture: you’ll want to find a place that supports your lifestyle.

These factors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding your dream home. You could make a whole job out of researching this, but instead, we’ve done the work for you.

Click here to check out Remote’s best destinations for remote work hub to find all of the information you need.

Working remotely for a US company is easier than ever

Your work is no longer tied directly to where you live. Whether you have dreams of working for a US company but live overseas, or if you work for a US company and dream of living abroad, you can make it happen.

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