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10 Pros (and Cons) of Hiring International Employees in 2023

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thanks to the abundance of connective technology, hiring and working with people in remote locations, including employees in other countries, is easier than ever. Hiring international employees can be advantageous for your business, helping you save money while simultaneously broadening your talent pool.

But is this truly worthwhile in 2023? Let’s take a look.

Related: The Rise of Self-Employed in the Global Workforce and What Business Owners Need to Know

The benefits of hiring international employees

Hiring international employees comes with an array of advantages, including:

  • A wider talent pool. One of the most appealing benefits of hiring people in other countries is getting access to a wider talent pool. There are nearly 400 million people in the United States, but that doesn’t mean much if you have several important job openings and no applicants eager to fill them. Broadening your search internationally could be exactly what you need to find more people and fill those vacancies.
  • Relatively easy traveling logistics. Thanks in part to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and ESTA, international travel to the U.S. is easier than ever. Instead of making complicated arrangements and relying on tedious paperwork, your employees may be able to make arrangements to visit the United States for short business trips by filling out electronic applications that only take a few minutes.
  • Remote collaboration potential. Only a few decades ago, working with people in other countries was practically impossible for most businesses. But in 2023, we have access to better collaboration tools than ever. Cloud collaboration platforms, powerful video chat apps and intuitive project management systems make it much easier for employees to engage with each other in real-time, regardless of their geographic location.
  • A road to labor savings. Here in the U.S., we’re used to people having a median salary of around $50,000. And if you want a maverick with tons of experience, you’ll pay a lot more than that. But labor simply isn’t this expensive elsewhere in the world. Hiring talent where the cost of living is lower means employers benefit from lower labor costs.
  • Cultural touchpoints for expansion. If you’re interested in expanding your business to new markets overseas, hiring employees in those countries could give you cultural touchpoints. These hires can help you better understand your target countries and develop strategies for efficient, successful expansion.
  • Diversity and problem-solving capabilities. There’s also an advantage to having a diverse staff of people working together. Studies have found that diverse teams are better at decision-making and problem-solving because they tend to focus more on facts.

Related: The Benefits and Risks of Launching New Products in New Markets

The downsides of hiring international employees

There are some important downsides to acknowledge, however.

  • Registration and compliance. From a legal perspective, hiring and maintaining employees internationally can be a bit messy. You may be subject to laws and regulations imposed by foreign nations, which can increase compliance costs and cause legal headaches. At the very least, you should hire a lawyer to help you navigate these complexities, which can ebb away at the labor cost savings you’d otherwise enjoy.
  • Wage increases and employer demand. Hiring people in certain countries used to be absurdly inexpensive, but wages are beginning to increase on an international scale. This is great from an international economic perspective, as the quality of life is increasing for billions of people. However, because more employers are seeking international employees and employment demand is rising, employees are demanding higher wages and more benefits.
  • Communication barriers. English is the most popular language in the world, with 1.3 billion speakers in 2023. You shouldn’t have trouble finding employees who can speak English competently, but there may still be some communication barriers if these speakers are inexperienced or if they aren’t able to grasp the nuances of native speakers. Translation services and intermediaries may be able to help, but this is still a barrier you’ll need to account for.
  • Cultural differences. Finally, keep in mind that cultural differences can make an impact on your business. Employees in other countries may have different philosophies about work. They may prefer working in a totally different time zone. They may have different holidays. They may approach conflict resolution in totally different ways. It’s a good idea to immerse yourself in their culture so you can understand where they’re coming from if you want a healthy working relationship.

Should your business hire international employees in 2023? In some ways, the prospect is more attractive than ever, with fewer communication and travel barriers and more options in terms of both available countries and talented workers. But the decision isn’t exactly straightforward. Make sure you fully understand the laws and regulations associated with hiring foreign employees in your destination country and weigh all the pros and cons before moving forward.

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