This section generally describes options for staffing projects or activities outside of the United States. The pros and cons will vary depending on the specific staffing needs and the host country’s laws, such as payroll, tax, immigration, employment and social welfare laws. Consideration also must be given to whether the arrangement will trigger corporate registration or licensing requirements that may result in additional financial or regulatory obligations in the host country. Accordingly, please contact Global Operations Support well in advance of your staffing needs to start the process of reviewing these options.
Partnering with a Local Organization
Partnering with a host country organization (usually another University) is often the most efficient and cost effective staffing solution. In this arrangement, the host country organization employs staff assigned to the project and is responsible for employment, tax, payroll and other requirements under the host country’s laws. A potential downside to this arrangement may be lack of control of the staff due to their employment and oversight by the partner organization. This arrangement requires identification of an appropriate partner and negotiation of a satisfactory contract and/or memorandum of understanding.
Contracting with an HR Vendor
In some countries, a Professional Employment Organization (“PEO”) or Global Employment Organization (“GEO”) may provide staffing services, such as tax and payroll services, similar to a temporary staffing agency in the United States. This arrangement has similar pros and cons to partnering with a host country organization. In addition, this arrangement typically involves additional costs and the need to manage the PEO and GEO. There is also a risk the PEO or GEO will not have appropriately qualified staff or the arrangement may be valid for only a limited period of time.
Engaging an Independent Contractor/Consultant
Engaging an independent contractor/consultant may be appropriate on a limited or project basis. In this arrangement, the independent contractor/consultant is self-employed and is therefore responsible for employment, tax, payroll and other requirements under the host country’s laws. A potential downside is a lack of control over how and when the work is performed. Independent contractor arrangements, particularly those lasting for more than 90 days, must be carefully designed to ensure compliance with the host country’s laws. Misclassifying an individual as an independent contractor instead of as an employee under the host country’s laws may result in significant legal consequences, including fines, penalties and retroactive payment of wages and benefits. More information is posted on the Buying & Paying page.
Assigning a US Employee to Work Abroad as an Expatriate
This arrangement allows more control and oversight of the performance of the work. Short term collaboration or research activities may be addressed through business travel or sabbatical leave. In general, any work assignment abroad lasting more than 90 days in one year should be reviewed for potential implications to the employee and the University. The costs and benefits will need to be considered based upon the host country’s laws, including employment, payroll, tax, corporate registration and other laws.
Hiring Local Personnel to Work Abroad
Similar to assigning US personnel to work abroad, this arrangement allows more control and oversight of the performance of the work. In most cases, hiring local personnel is only an option if the University has a legal presence in the country. The costs and benefits will need to be considered based upon the host country’s laws, including employment, payroll, tax, corporate registration and other laws.
Please contact Global Operations Support well in advance of your staffing needs to start the process of evaluating the various options that may be appropriate to satisfy staffing needs in a foreign location. Global Operations Support will help coordinate this review with other offices at the University and with outside experts as may be necessary.