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Can You Work Remotely from Another Country?

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Say you have a remote job based in the US, Canada, or anywhere in the world, and you're considering to work in another country. Legally, to do this, there are two things you need to clarify first: One, does your employer allow it? Two, does your destination country allow it? Let's discuss this below.

Can You Work Remotely from Another Country?

1. Will your employer allow you to work remotely from another country?

The biggest hurdle employers encounter when letting an employee work in another country is taxation. When an employee of a company is located overseas for an extended period of time, some countries will end up taxing the company for maintaining an operation there only because of said employee. 

Other less-discussed reasons as to why businesses are hesitant to let employees work remotely from abroad are employee and liability insurance—employers typically have business insurance that only cover activities done in a particular country and not in another.

As an employee, when you ask your employer the question of whether you can work remotely in another country, you may get a few possible responses:

  1. No.

  2. Yes, you may work remotely in a few countries where the company already has existing operations.

  3. Yes, you may work remotely in certain countries, but only for less than 90 days per year (or as many days possible to prevent legal and tax complications to the company).

  4. Yes, but you will now be treated as an independent contractor.

Becoming an independent contractor means that you are no longer an employee, but rather a self-employed person who provides services for a company. You would be responsible for your own taxes, insurance, pension, and so on.

2. Will your destination country allow you to work remotely there?

Say you get the all clear from your employer. That's half the battle.

Now, you still need to clarify whether your destination country allows you to perform any paid work there, assuming you are entering the country as a tourist.

  • Some countries are pretty lax in that they will not ask nor enforce anything relating to remote work.

  • Some countries are very accepting of remote workers and they will explicitly declare in their immigration websites that visitors are allowed to work remotely for a foreign company, and as long as the work activity does not impact the local labour market.

  • Some countries accept Remote Work Visa applications for those seeking to work remotely there for a business in another country. 

  • Some countries are very strict in that visitors are not allowed to perform any work whatsoever. 

Over and Out

The concept of remote work is relatively new, and it has been surging in trend over the past few years. 

You will have the most location freedom if you are self-employed, where you work for one or more companies, but they will not be responsible for any of your taxes or insurance, so you need to handle those yourself.

If you prefer being an employee and you would like to work remotely abroad, consider discussing this with your employer, and also ensure you look up remote work regulations in your destination country. The last thing you want is to either get fired, or banned from revisiting your destination country.

Want to Move Abroad?

Learn about the cons of moving abroad, and how to get a visa if you think moving is right for you. More about this here.