A Guide To Hiring International Employees (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

September 10, 2021

International employees can often bring additional value to an organization. Whether a business hopes to open an office abroad or hire international employees for temporary local positions, it can gain new perspectives and expertise or increase worldwide visibility. Learning more about this process can help you if you're considering hiring international employees. In this article, we discuss when hiring international employees can be beneficial, steps you can take when hiring internationally and share tips to ensure a smooth hiring process.

When is hiring international employees useful?

Hiring international employees can help you expand your business into new markets, exploring expertise from certain regions or branding globally. Although there are different aspects of hiring you might need to review like legal requirements, average salary and payment options, this can be a useful way to grow your business as an international organization. This can be useful for several reasons:

  • Expanding into new markets: You may find that international markets have the target demographics and purchasing patterns that match your business needs. This can help add to your revenue while maintaining and growing your local markets.

  • Receiving new knowledge: If you have highly specialized products that require expertise from different regions, you may consider hiring international employees. This can include reviewing or writing content in different languages and dialects with regional references.

  • Branding globally: With international teams or offices, you can start to market your organization as a global brand. This can help increase your credibility by showing your growth and ability to manage international operations.

Related: 4 Strategies for Global Branding

How to hire international employees

There are several steps you can take when hiring international employees:

1. Review the possibilities

There are several possible options when hiring overseas. Consider if you want to hire international employees to work remotely or if you hope to create an office in an international location. Each country may have different visa and certification requirements, so evaluating the prices and options can help you achieve your goals. You might also hope to hire employees that are able to travel to the US or work for periods of time in different locations, so try researching the different options to learn what you might need to spend against what you can earn by making this investment.

2. Define your roles

Consider using existing job descriptions or writing new ones for new positions. As a new opportunity for international employees, you might attract more talent if you describe your company culture and share benefits that they may earn by joining your organization. After reviewing the possibilities, clarify in the role if it's a part-time, full-time, temporary or long-term position. Consider mentioning any travel need so candidates that apply can prepare and meet any requirements you need for the job.

3. Review the legal requirements

Once you decide where you hope to hire employees, review the legal requirements in both the US and the other country. This can vary by location, so try working with legal professionals to ensure you understand the requirements. For example, in some locations, countries may require you to pay for a portion of housing or costs of office space for employees. Consider reviewing tax laws, too. Sometimes you may have to withhold or pay different amounts to employees in different locations.

4. Get the necessary certifications

Often, you may need to get certified by the department of labor in order to hire international employees. Certifications often verify that the employment of staff outside of the US has little effect on the employment, salaries, or conditions for employees working locally. Consider reviewing the federal and state requirements your business might need as forms may differ between permanent or temporary hiring of international workers.

Related: Sponsorship of Employment: How To Sponsor a Foreign Employee

5. Obtain necessary visas

Once you receive certification by the federal division of labor, you can petition the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) for visas. Depending on your needs, you might need to fill out several forms or petitions. For example, there are dedicated forms to petition for international workers to become permanent US citizens or petitions for non-residents to work in the United States temporarily. Consider reviewing your role requirements with a legal and human resources department to apply or petition for any additional visa forms.

It can help to research what prospective employees might need to fill out, too. Try learning what process they might follow to ensure a smooth onboarding experience for international new hires.

Related: 10 Types of Work Visas and Eligibility Requirements

6. Develop a recruiting and onboarding plan

Once you've determined your legal needs along with the details of a role, consider planning how you might recruit talent from international locations. This might mean visiting international locations or job fairs or posting job descriptions on common job sites in their area. Creating an onboarding plan can help ensure you and your international employees can have a smooth transition. This can include discussing any legal requirements, providing an overview of benefits, training on systems and processes and holding cultural awareness sessions for both US and international employees. A smooth recruiting and onboarding process can minimize the amount of employee turnover.

Related: 23 Tips for Recruiting

Best practices for international hiring

Some ways that can help you hire international employees smoothly include:

  • Reviewing your timeline: Consider starting the process long before you hope to hire international employees. You may encounter delays with applying for forms and certifications and the recruiting process can take time when looking for the most qualified candidates.

  • Meeting regularly with legal: Legal requirements often change with international work laws in the US and other countries. Try sharing your plan with an attorney and adjusting as needed until you can meet the legal requirements to proceed.

  • Meeting with finance: Consider meeting with your finance team about your plans to hire international employees. There may be additional tax forms or requirements that you or prospective employees may need to fulfill prior to hiring.

  • Documenting everything: Consider documenting the steps you take, the meetings you have and the goals you set. If you hope to hire internationally in the future, this can be a guide to help it along more smoothly, or if legal departments need to review anything you have documents ready.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice; you should consult with an attorney for any legal issues you may be experiencing.

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