Navigating foreign employment laws in overseas hiring

Despite more availability in talent-strapped markets.

In 2022, numerous global tech giants eliminated tens of thousands of specialized technical positions, releasing previously scarce expertise from diverse regions into the international job market. However, industry experts caution that prior to accessing this abundant talent pool, it is essential to comprehend the legal responsibilities involved.

Some observers are concerned that individuals like Elon Musk may have overlooked an important aspect during his weeks-long Twitter spring cleaning in the previous year. This event resulted in the dismissal of thousands of employees, numerous wrongful termination lawsuits, and many workers choosing severance packages instead of complying with Musk’s request for “long hours at high intensity.”

Palle Hoffstein, a union representative and video-game designer for Massive Entertainment, the publisher of Rainbow Six, has suggested that Elon Musk should have familiarized himself with European employment law prior to dismissing employees through email and engaged with unions before requesting uncompensated overtime. Hoffstein’s recent Twitter thread underscores how complicated the situation could become for Twitter.

Dismissing employees may be straightforward in some jurisdictions, Hoffstein pointed out, but in others it requires employers to demonstrate a long period of non-compliance with corporate rules, potentially including steps such as written warnings, negotiated compensation, governmental approvals, and arbitration.

“Elon has taken over a global company and is acting like it is a purely American entity,” Hoffstein said.

Twitter is just one of a string of companies that have sharpened their knives, rushing to reverse pandemic-era hiring sprees that were fueled by easy access to contract and remote employees anywhere in the world.

Although a study by Remote indicates that US firms are most inclined to employ workers within their geographical vicinity, with only 30 percent considering remote recruitment, other nations have already made significant strides in their efforts to recruit highly skilled foreign employees.

For instance, in the United Kingdom, 43 percent of respondents stated that they have embraced remote work as an avenue to recruit employees for positions that they cannot fulfill locally, and approximately 70 percent are focusing on conventional talent centers such as Tokyo, Paris, and Melbourne.

Gartner reports that 58 percent of organizations are currently operating with a ‘borderless workforce’ in which they hire technical expertise from other nations, while an additional 27 percent of corporate executives are exploring this option.

That’s double the proportion than when the pandemic began, Gartner analyst Gabriela Vogel noted, saying the shift had changed borderless technology hiring from the exception to the rule.

“Today in the professional world location is fluid, the market is global, and the talent competition is agnostic as we are all competing under the same flag – technology,” she explained.

“Countries are losing talent to other countries, the public sector is losing talent to the private sector, and all the verticals are in the same situation. There are no more competition boundaries.”

Opportunities and risks for Australian companies

The elimination of longstanding geographical barriers has opened up avenues for Australian businesses that have been facing difficulties in finding the requisite specialized skills locally, especially due to years of migration limitations that have made it challenging for companies to hire skilled personnel in fields such as technology, sales, marketing, and numerous other business areas.

The 10 countries whose tech communities are being tapped the most for staff are: India, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, the United States, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Brazil, according to Gartner.

Simultaneously managing the intricacies of employment law in each of those countries requires local knowledge and resources that most companies simply do not have, according to employment solution provider Remote’s chief revenue officer Chris McNamara.

“Only large companies have traditionally had the legal and human resources required to manage foreign employment contracts within the context of local employment obligations,” he explained.

“The recent surge in tech company layoffs presents an opportunity for Australian companies to cherry-pick the best talent from around the world, but it’s important that they don’t blindly bind themselves to obligations that could come back to bite them in the future.”

Remote, a platform that aids businesses in maintaining overseas workplace compliance while recruiting remote personnel, witnessed a surge in its operations during the pandemic. In September, the company expanded its services to Australia to bolster the confidence of domestic firms while venturing into the worldwide talent pool.

According to McNamara, acquiring expertise from abroad enables Australian firms to discover specialized skills, explore new markets, enhance team diversity, efficiently expand their operations, and offer uninterrupted client support.

The company’s ‘Employer of Record’ approach – in which it maintains legal entities in many countries around the globe – ensures Australian companies can hire employees living in other countries in compliance with all applicable local labor laws. Australian companies can broaden their talent pool while Remote provides a great employee experience throughout the full lifecycle of employment, from onboarding all the way through termination.

Issues such as pension enrolments and contributions, tax, health insurance, privacy compliance requirements, equity incentives, and more can be managed across one or many countries simultaneously.

Such support unlocks the potential of global employment markets for companies of any size, Gartner’s Sanchez-Reina said, and helps to avoid the costs and risks of doing it alone.

“There are certain constraints that hinder the adoption and expansion of a borderless operation,” said Sanchez-Raina.

“They range from complexity of administration support [and] culture issues to security and legality concerns.”

McNamara believes Remote’s Australian operations will provide new options for local companies that are struggling to fill technical and other business roles amidst Australia’s worsening skills shortage.

“Being a contractor is good for some people, but others want to have stronger ties,” he explained.

“By providing employment compliance as a service, we can help companies employ foreign workers legally and retain them with locally relevant benefits packages and perks that help them gain the edge in a tough hiring market.”

Australia’s National Skills Commission updated its Skills Priority List in 2022, adding 133 new occupations to the list of positions now identified as being in shortage and bringing the total number to 286.

Software and applications programmers were the second most in-demand profession, while ICT business and systems analysts ranked seventh.

edited and uploaded | Credit source: IT News

Get in touch today to find out more via email at or visit