As the world emerges from the pandemic with more work options available, working remotely has gained vast popularity presenting many contactors with a motivational choice of looking for international clients.  Even though some may choose to move abroad and work onsite, there are others who take up on the opportunity to work remotely either from home or in another country. Of course this choice only works for those with occupations that can be performed online via virtual platforms.

Let’s go through the pros and cons of each choice, and examine which is best for you.

Do you have the choice to work for clients abroad?

When a client decides how they want you to work with them, either onsite or remotely, they would have likely stated this preference in the recruitment process and most often in the job description. Usually, you will not need to suggest the best method of delivering your work.

From their employer’s point of view, it could depend on a few aspects, including the overall cost of engaging your services. Living in a country that has a lower economic level could save them money by contracting you remotely and paying a salary rate that is ‘localized’ to your country.  Another aspect to take into consideration is how easy it would be to secure a work permit for you in the employing country. A client may even wish that you initially start onsite for training and supervision and then afterwards start working remotely or offer you the choice but with a different salary rate.

Moving Abroad to Work Onsite for a Client

This is a more traditional way to fill in a temporary or long-term position by moving to the employing country, including all the expenses and logistics.  Clients usually support the contractor with some of these steps, like acquiring a work permits for them and so on, but the expenses ultimately are taken on by the contractor.

The Benefits of Working Onsite

The contractors can easily adapt to company culture. By working onsite they can work directly with management and other members of the team in real-time which helps them have a sense of belonging and social engagement that remote work is not able to offer.

Higher income rates in the employing country. Contractors are offered the same salary rates as those who are working in the employing country.

Exciting opportunity experiencing living in another country. Working abroad onsite offers the freedom to experience, and explore, other cultures and sites whilst also delivering on set projects.  This provides a whole new element to an employment contract that offers something more than just a salary and work satisfaction.

Increases the chances of becoming a full-time employee. It is easier to be seen a potential full-time employee when working onsite where Contractors have more opportunities to establish their value, commitment and involvement making them favourable for a more permanent role.

The Disadvantages of Working Onsite

Accumulating relocation expenses. When it comes to relocating, as a contractor you are in charge of all of the expenses including obtaining visas and anything else relating to you settling in. This why the salary rate should also reflect these costs that will occur.

Acquiring a work permit. Depending on the country, not all clients are willing to sponsor a work permit if needed, so the contractor need to deal with the Migration Agency directly unless otherwise stipulated.  Unless they are hired through an umbrella company that can handle all dealings concerning work visas and facilitate client payments.

Possible language/cultural barriers. Each country has their own culture and communicational cues. When moving to a new country it is important to be able to adapt easily to their ways of communicating, their language and cultural differences.  Plus being new in the workforce always adds on a degree of stress, especially if the culture is unfamiliar.

Chances of being ‘benched’ that will lead to loss of income. As a contractor, there’s a possibility of being laid off or ‘benched’ with very little notice.  If the client is unsatisfied with your work outcome or no longer feels the need to keep you, there are no employee protections for the contractor rely on.  The only way to avoid this is to ensure there are a termination clauses in your contract that can detail notice periods and penalties for early termination without warning.

Work from Home Remotely

Nowadays there is the possibility to work remotely either from home or from another country.  Some countries offer a digital nomad visa, others do not require a work permit (such as for EU members) which offers the maximum flexibility in terms of location because the only you will need to navigate are the time zones and the internet connectivity.

The Benefits of Working Remotely

Many locations to choose to work from. Working remotely you are able to work from anywhere you want, even in your own home country without having to part from your family and friends.  All you need to do is make sure you fulfil the project hours and role requirements, so the client doesn’t become concerned about your remote work performance.

Having plenty of autonomy in your own work environment. You get to create own structured work environment that can give you a feeling of freedom and autonomy. In some circumstances you get to decide when and how to work as long as you fulfil the desired project outcome.

Minimum administrative work for the client. The client will have no other obligations part from arranging payment of your invoices raised by you or an umbrella company for your services. Unlike being onsite where the client has to have in mind the social contributions, disguised employment claims, tax withholding, and other compliance issues.

Possibility to have multiple clients at the same time. When working remotely the contractor is able to engage his services with multiple clients simultaneously by organizing his time schedule to fit them harmoniously.

The Disadvantages of Working Remotely

Issues with cross communication and challenging time zone differences. If the contractor is located in a different time zone from the client or from fellow remote workers. In such cases, everyone is responsible to ensure that there is continuous smooth cross communication and collaboration.

A feeling of detachment from the office environment. Even though there are numerous online platforms for communicating and socializing, numerous remote workers report feeling disconnected from the client and fellow remote workers at times. Virtual communication had become the norm during the pandemic and some had found it hard to replace the in-person office environment.

Accountable for own travel/visa/living arrangements. Remotely you are managing your business independently without assistance or support.  Working remotely from home is not an issue unless you are drawn to the digital nomad life then you will have another layer of planning, expense and effort to manage.

Clients sometimes perceive ‘value’ to be lower than that of an in-office worker. Remote contractors are often far away and may be contracted temporary making it more difficult to show their value to the client where the work may be asynchronous across time zones.

Major Considerations when moving abroad: Taxes and Expenses

Both remote and in-office options carry expenses for the contractor. Nevertheless, working remotely puts you in charge of your own costs, whereas being an office-based worker your client may be able to take into account some relocation or visa expenses and include them into the paid rate.

Tax residency is an issue for both remote and in-office contractors that affect their earnings.  If the contractor decides to move to the client’s contracting country, they could be taxed at rates higher than what they expected whereas working remotely from home or in a third country, there is more control over the tax situation (many digital nomad visas exempt workers from tax liability).

How can you successfully decide whether to work remotely or move abroad?

Chesterfield has a vast network of umbrella companies that can be your partner when working with international clients.  Whether you choose to work remotely or onsite for your client, an umbrella company can ensure timely payment and tax withholding. Get in contact with our contracting team to see how they can help you out today.

Other benefits of umbrella companies include:

Manages all client payments, tax withholding and any social contributions

Issues you a payslip each month, to a local or foreign account

Sponsor work permits

Helps set up the contract with the client

Moderates any disputes with your client

Advises on access to totalization and double taxation treaties

If you have queries about how an umbrella company can assist you as an international contractor, please feel free to contact us at Chesterfield no matter if you will be working remotely or moving abroad, we would be more than happy to help you.