In the last few years, the concept of remote working has been widely accepted and has had a big impact on the way we work. Many companies have experienced that remote working has shown its benefits across industries and especially with employees prioritising their career purpose and wellbeing, both in terms of working hours and flexibilities of workplace. Given the sense of flexibility remote working brings along, companies are now very open to talent working from overseas as well. More so with the current situation of talent shortage that Hong Kong is grappling with, having remote working employees works very well for the companies to fill in roles and staff retention.
While relocating back to home country or a third country might come across as a straightforward move, but it’s not all that simple and can involve complicated aspects which need to be taken care of. In this article, we explore all elements which you, as a hiring manager, can look into to support your workforce for working overseas.
Compliance & taxation
Once an employee puts in a request for working overseas, it is important to ensure that the movement comes along with corporate tax compliance, social security compliance and overall adherence to labour laws of the country the employee is moving to. Since the rules & regulations differ country to country, the HR needs to ensure that they comply with the local norms. Any necessary adjustments around working hours, overtime, annual leave, sick leaves should also be made. Failing to comply with local labour laws can attract heft fines and penalties for the company.
Another important aspect to take care of is taxation. Once an employee works in a different country, they become a tax resident of that country and have to file and pay local taxes and manage all legal obligations of the new country. Which is why, it’s important to support the employees in adhering with all tax laws and compliances to avoid any potential issues.
Unless an employee is moving back to their home country, relocating to a third country involves a fair amount of visa and immigration related processes. Garnering a work visa is usually the first step and the most important step in this process. Company’s support in terms of applying to the immigration department, providing company authorisation and providing work visa sponsorship can be of huge help to the employee.
When a request for overseas working comes in, one of things that cross a hiring manager’s mind is to determine the compensation for remote employees. The decision is specifically around whether they should make salary adjustments for employees and candidates based on where they will live. When employees move to a location with relatively different costs of living, say higher for example, the salaries offered should be adjusted accordingly. Failing to do so may be perceived to be unfair and may even give rise to claims of discrimination.
Over and above compensation, offering health insurance and can be one of the attractive benefits a company can offer to their employees. Often, access to health care through an employer can be a big deciding factor for employees when they look for new job. More so when moving to another country, when the medical system and expenses can be unfamiliar very expensive, having access to a good health insurance makes settling down a lot easier. Hence, not offering the relevant health coverage can lead to you fall behind in the race for attracting talent.
Accommodation and relocation expenses
With more and more companies evolving their policies around remote working, one more aspect which needs due consideration is managing relocation expenses. While some offer expense reimbursement, some companies offer relocation services themselves in the form of moving company services, flight tickets, storage, service apartment and other miscellaneous expenses. This ensures that your remote employees feel valued and taken care of. It helps you seem more attractive to other potential employees.