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5 Key Questions to Answer Before Hiring International Workers

CoAdvantage – As employers struggle to find skilled workers in today’s talent market, they often look to other countries for access to a wider talent pool and lower labor costs. International hiring is not just about applying current practices to a new country, however. It involves special considerations that can have a significant impact on a company’s culture and productivity. Before hiring foreign workers, organizations should take the necessary steps to ensure that they know what they’re doing.

1: Are you prepared to navigate a new set of labor and compliance-related laws?

Even if you’re not actually expanding into a different country but instead just hiring foreign staff to work in the U.S., the moment you hire a foreign national, your organization must comply with a host of new regulations and legal requirements in addition to the normal set of labor laws. This issue can be complicated and extensive enough that you might need to hire a new team member with the requisite background and expertise to manage compliance or hire a service like a Professional Employer Organization to manage it for you.

2: Do you know what documentation to begin collecting?

Closely related to the first item, you must make sure you’re prepared to begin collecting appropriate documentation and information on your new international hires. This can be more delicate and nuanced than it first appears. Though it’s necessary to comply with the law, you don’t want to create a complicated, difficult, or punitive administrative or onboarding process for international workers that inadvertently discriminates against them for being from another country.

3: Have you expanded your recruitment channels to reach foreign workers?

How you find and recruit these new international workers depends on your goals for them. In some cases, this step might be very easy; you might find international workers already applying for jobs posted through your normal recruitment channels. In other cases, especially if you’re expanding operations into a new country, you might need to adopt entirely new recruiting channels, tools, and services to reach them.

4: Are you prepared to navigate cultural differences in the workplace?

National culture can play a profound role in how employees interact with each other, their leaders, and their work. Some countries, for example, have cultures that encourage straightforward bluntness and honesty to the point that it can feel harsh to other workers. Meanwhile, other countries might have cultures that discourage boasting to the point it can be difficult to get them to talk about accomplishments during interviews.

5: Have you determined the best way to pay your foreign workers?

This question largely depends on where your new hires will be working. If they’re coming to the United States to work as a full-time employee, most likely you’ll be able to pay them the same way as other employees. But if they remain in their native country or you’re hiring them on a contract basis, you may need to figure out how to get their pay to them. Intermediary financial institutions ranging from big brand banks to online services like PayPal might work, or you might need to find a service that specializes in transfers to specific countries.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.

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