Thanks to technology that makes it easier to connect with people around the world, national governments are making it easier to hire and work with people in other countries. Programs like Canada’s eTA Application makes it simple for citizens of eTA-eligible countries to visit Canada for business, tourism, or transit, and U.S. domestic business travel has increased consistently due to fewer barriers for visitors, with 464 million person-trips in 2018.
Still, you might not be convinced that hiring someone from another country, especially as a contractor, is the right move for your business. After all, a member of another country might speak another language, or have cultural barriers that make them hard to integrate with the rest of your team.
However, the advantages of hiring someone from another country make it worth at least considering.
The Advantages of Hiring Contractors in Other Countries
If you’re going to hire contractors or part-time employees, look at candidates from other countries for the following reasons:
A Wider Pool of Candidates
First, you’ll have a much wider pool of candidates to choose from. There are 350 million-ish people in the United States, but more than 7 billion people in the world. If you expand your search to international territory, you’ll have 20 times as many candidates (hypothetically). That means you’ll be much more likely to find the perfect person for the job. Of course, that means a bit of extra work; you’ll need to manage job postings and searches in multiple other countries, and review a greater number of applications, but depending on the role, this could be worth it.
(Potentially) Lower Rates
Some employers are interested in hiring employees overseas because they may charge a lower rate. Minimum wage and average wages in developing countries tend to be extremely low, so finding a middle ground means that the foreign worker will earn a ridiculous amount of money (in their eyes) while still costing you less money than a domestic worker. For example, the minimum wage in India varies between 160 rupees ($2.46) and 750 rupees ($12) per day, depending on your location and the type of work you’re doing. By comparison, $15 an hour seems amazing.
An Inside Person in Other Territory
If you’re looking to expand your company into another country, hiring a person from that country is a good first step. You’ll get a sneak peek at the demographics you’ll eventually be targeting, and a good excuse to travel there in the near future. If you hire a few contractors, you’ll build a referral network you can use to create an entire extranational team.
A Broader Cultural Understanding
Meeting and working with people in other countries can also lend itself to deepening your cultural understanding. You’ll get a sense of other work cultures, and how other people manage their time. There’s something to learn from almost every working style, so the more you expose yourself to these variables, the better.
Foreign Workers are Typically Adaptable
willing to vary their schedule to meet the demands of the opportunity. More importantly, your company will be more adaptable; with a wider pool of contractors and candidates, you can adjust your workforce and workload distributions as needed—and relatively quickly.
Accounting for the Disadvantages
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to hiring people in another country, and you’ll need to have a plan to account for them. These include:
- Payment challenges. Paying employees in other countries can prove difficult, depending on how they want to be paid and what type of currency you’re exchanging. You’ll need to keep meticulous paperwork, and possibly take a small loss on conversion. However, with a good accountant and a solid financial services provider, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.
- Legal compliance. You’re likely familiar with employment laws in your home country, but you may also need to comply with the laws of the country in which you hire a new contractor. For example, there may be laws regarding how many hours they can work, or how they must take breaks and vacations.
- Language barriers. Occasionally, you’ll encounter a language barrier. If your contractor isn’t a native speaker, they may not be able to articulate themselves adequately in your native language.
- Timing barriers. If you’re working with someone in a completely different time zone, you may find it hard to coordinate your efforts. However, many extranational contractors are willing to work on your time.
As you can see, there are ways to navigate all these challenges, while still preserving the benefits of hiring someone from another country. If you’re getting ready to expand your network of contractors or bring on someone part-time to help the business succeed, don’t limit yourself to local candidates.