When employing staff overseas what can possibly go wrong?

by Carlos Ruiz

Whether your company is ready to litmus test its product or service on the global market or you have decided to add to your global workforce footprint in the not too distant future, hiring and managing a remote workforce doesn’t come without its headaches, pitfalls and frustrations, especially if you’re attempting to do it yourself.

Global DIY Expansion

During the last 12 months in fact, we have had to take control of global employment mistakes, oversights or worker misclassification by more than half a dozen established businesses, not start-ups, that have tried, and failed, to set up a workforce in a new country that offers exciting new markets and fresh revenue streams.

Certainly, overseas expansion is an exhilarating prospect for many businesses and a pressing, often stressful reality for others, and when it comes to the business of global remote workforce management, problems can begin at an early stage and often go unnoticed until the damage is done.

Often, the moment companies decide to entrust specific, non-specialised personnel to put a ‘straightforward’ international expansion strategy in place and act on it, do problems begin to arise. In all the cases where we have been engaged to hire employees after a HR “event” occurred the company started off with all the right intentions but simply applied the incorrect HR practices.

International payroll, employment contracts, taxation, work permits, and social insurance contributions are among the many priorities needed for new employees when working overseas and the dedicated person or team looking after these necessities may have some knowledge but, due to time constraints, they are often prepared to ‘learn as they go.’

But in business, learning from mistakes is a serious and often costly risk to take.

The word ‘straightforward’ isn’t a word that can be applied to the global employment of a remote workforce. International employment differs from one country to the next and understanding host country legal employment compliance takes significant time and experience to understand – and this understanding is where a large proportion of internal resource can be spent even before any staff deployment takes place.

Global PEO Specialist

As a global professional employer organization (PEO) specialist, Portas Global embraces the opportunity to make a real difference to companies wishing to expand quickly into new markets with the least amount of internal disruption possible.  

Carlos Ruiz, Managing Director of Portas Global comments: “We’ve witnessed too many mistakes made by companies wishing to do it themselves and we would always advise organisations to discuss and, ultimately, outsource where possible to an experienced PEO. Even if it is just to check they are going along the right tracks. It is not in our interest to allow your business to get it wrong because that simply leaves a bad taste in your mouth for the next time an opportunity arises.

“As a globally-recognised business, we can often set up new team infrastructures in different countries in a short space of time, usually between two-six weeks, with all of the compliant payroll, contracts, social insurances and employee benefits in place, allowing organisations to get on with establishing its new presence in the local market.”

Global Compliance

International employees often fall into three distinct categories; expats, foreign remote workers that reside in the new country of expansion or globally mobile independent consultants deploying solutions or delivering projects as part of specialist local teams.  

While expats may be satisfied with the fiscal compensation and international experience of working abroad, foreign employees working remotely from Head Office will want to ensure that their local benefits and payroll conform to the laws of the host country – and if you’re building global teams, the complex burden of facilitating compensation parity and compliance can be avoided if these factors are understood from the outset.

With a solution-first approach, Portas Global actively works as an extension of any company’s HR team to relieve the burden of, and deliver, a timely and cost-effective business expansion solution in a country where there is not an already established business entity. If you’re looking to expand overseas, our internationally-recognised global PEO service removes many of the headaches, stresses and costly lessons of workforce administration to allow for a completely seamless move and the next exciting chapter in your business expansion programme.


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