“Hire international” is a phrase that might bring a very specific scenario to mind. You may be picturing a multibillion-dollar corporation spending exuberant amounts of money to attract the finest overseas talent. These international hires probably include highly compensated specialists in fields such as engineering, computer programming, or biotechnology.

Furthermore, the onboarding process itself is likely very complex and demands a team of in-house specialists to navigate international labor law. Thus, recruitment agencies, immigration companies, or immigration lawyers assist Canadian employers in hiring foreign workers to make the process less complicated and legal. Even remote workers probably require tech resources completely out of reach for small and medium-sized businesses.

If you’ve ever wondered about hiring international employees or contractors and assumed the process was too complex, there’s good news. With modern technology and multiple options for third-party facilitators, remote international hiring is attainable for businesses of all sizes. To get started, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Get Help From a Third Party

Self-administration of global hiring can get expensive quickly once you consider the costs of opening your own entities and sourcing local providers for payroll and benefits services. By outsourcing those needs, you can access global talent quickly without breaking the bank.

If you are looking to hire contractors abroad rather than search for employees, administration rules are not nearly as stringent. This is something you could legally do on your own, but help is still available to ensure payments and invoices process smoothly.

A third-party administrator could help you find your international workers and set them up to work remotely. They could also take care of contractor payment and complete any quarterly or annual filing requirements. This type of service provider is usually referred to as a professional employer organization (PEO).

Hiring international employees is a much more detailed process, but it is still a viable option. The biggest difference is that you are technically not allowed to hire employees from countries where you have no business presence. You might think, “Well, that means I can’t hire international employees unless they immigrate to where I’m located, right?” Not so. You can still hire remote international employees, but you will need to retain the services of an employer of record (EOR).

An EOR functions by going through the process of setting up a legal presence in countries for which they offer hiring administration services. After you select the worker or workers you wish to hire international resource, the EOR will employ them on your behalf. Even though the employee is performing services for you, the EOR has all the responsibility of payroll and legal administration. This is a huge liability that is removed from your business since any improper administration carries no penalty risk for you.

While hiring contractors might seem like the simpler, more preferable option, the issue of liability is important. As previously mentioned, retaining an EOR offloads nearly all employer administrative risk. Fines and penalties for employer noncompliance can be significant, depending on the country, but they would fall on the EOR, not you.

If you use a PEO for contractor hiring and administration, it only lessens rather than eliminates your risk. Since you are still on record as being the employer, any errors in administration have your business information attached.

2. Make Sure Workers Are Classified Properly

Another way third-party service providers can be useful is in helping you determine how your remote workers should be classified. The rules for when workers need to be classified as employees versus contractors vary a great deal between individual countries. To add to the confusion, rules also differ from country to country regarding required benefits for each classification.

Contactors are often used for irregular or short-term projects and provide services for multiple companies. Other considerations might include whether the worker performs services onsite or if they are required to keep certain working hours. Again, the regulations are different for every country, so having third-party assistance with classification is very beneficial.

One thing to note is that you are allowed to change a worker’s classification at a later time. For example, you might engage a contractor on a project and find their work to be exemplary. It is absolutely allowed to then extend an offer of full-time employment and reclassify the worker as an employee. This gives you a little more flexibility as an employer and allows you to test someone’s work with less risk and expense.

3. Prioritize Your Needs

When it comes to opening up the international hiring pool, you don’t need to let in the whole world. Choosing which countries to accept applicants from will depend on what you’re hoping to accomplish. Are you hoping to get higher-quality workers, or is your goal to find individuals at a lower pay rate? If you are seeking specific skills, which countries tend to excel in those fields?

Only include countries in your search that will have the quality you need at the price point you’re willing to pay. Knowing how much your overall hiring cost will be depends on more than just hourly wage. Most global hiring partners offer a search function to tell you what is both required and standard for each country. This includes wage information in addition to benefits and paid holidays.

International Hiring Isn’t Just For Big Business

Hiring international talent can open up a multitude of options regarding skill sets and overhead costs. It might seem complex and impractical for small and medium-sized businesses, but technology has made it easier than ever. Before dismissing it entirely, investigate whether hiring international talent might be just what you need to take your business to the next level.