Hiring remote workers in Europe
International hiring

How to Hire Remote Workers in Europe Compliantly

Nov 16th, 2022

As businesses continue to move away from traditionally in-office experience and towards more innovative office models, the popularization of remote work around the world has become a top way to attract and retain new workers. 

If you plan to expand your company internationally, or just want to hire from a larger talent pool, hiring remote workers in other countries is a great option. It’s no secret that companies of all sizes–from new startups to major corporations–have been hiring remote workers in Europe for quite some time. 

However, hiring remote workers in other countries, especially Europe, can seem a bit daunting. If you’re based in the US, how do you pay them in a new currency? If you need to establish a subsidiary, what laws and regulations do you need to follow? 

Here is everything you need to know about hiring remote workers in Europe, as well as some of the key decisions to make when hiring remote workers in the United States and in Europe. 

What are the benefits of hiring remote workers in Europe? 

1. Talented workers 

One of the many benefits of hiring remote workers and building a remote team in Europe (and abroad more generally) is that you have a larger talent pool to choose from. Across Europe, employers can find candidates with specialized skills that they might not find as easily in the US, especially in areas like digital marketing, development, and design. 

2. Cost effective

Remote hiring in Europe is also a cost effective way to hire employees, especially if they can work from home. In general, hiring remote employees saves companies time and money with both the recruiting and onboarding process. You can use all the power of the internet to search for the right candidates and fill open roles seamlessly through remote job posts. 

3. More flexibility

Most importantly, you will give your remote workers more flexibility to work their own schedules based on where they live. While navigating time zones can be challenging, having employees across the globe can be beneficial in the long run, as your team will be faster to respond to urgent requests. 

4. Language skills

Many Europeans speak and read more than one language, including English, which is a huge advantage for US-based companies. Many companies in Europe conduct business in English. 

6 decisions to make when hiring remote workers in Europe 

Although hiring remote workers in Europe is similar to hiring remote employees in the United States, there are some key differences that you should keep in mind. 

1. Need to decide between full-time employees and contractors

When hiring remote workers in Europe, the first thing you need to decide is if you’re planning to classify the worker as a full-time employee or an independent contractor. Although both options have their benefits, most companies opt to hire remote European employees as independent contractors. 

This makes the relationship between the business and the employer a contractor agreement and not an employment agreement. It means one company (the business) is entering into an agreement with another business (the contractor) to perform a service or duty. 

The remote contractor will be subject to taxes based on their local country and need to keep track of what they are paid so that they can make their own tax payments to their government. 

If you choose to hire remote employees in Europe as full-time employees, you will need to follow all of the necessary HR tasks of paying an employee in their home country. Another option would be to build your global team is partnering with an EOR service like Via, which helps companies navigate all of the HR processes associated with onboarding, paying, and administering benefits for full-time employees across borders. 

2. For full-time employees, you need to set up an entity for full-time employees or use an EOR

There are quite a few different ways to hire talent in Europe. 

If you plan to hire remote full-time European employees, you will most likely need to set up a subsidiary in the foreign country where the employee lives, or use a global PEO or EOR service like Via. 

Most countries in Europe require a subsidiary to be established in order to legally pay employees, even if they’re remote. This process can be expensive, timely, and confusing, so your best option for hiring remote full-time employees may be using an employer-of-record  service like Via that already has legal entities in specific countries. 

3. Know the specific country’s tax and employment laws

Whether you plan to hire and pay full-time remote European employees or independent contractors, you will need to understand the tax and employment laws that govern the specific country you’re planning to hire in. 

Almost all countries in Europe have strong social security systems in place, especially compared to the US. Most Europeans receive healthcare benefits, pension, and paid time off, as guaranteed by the individual country. 

Taxes in Europe are calculated differently than taxes in the United States. European countries have more robust social security systems and benefits for citizens, so workers pay more into taxes. If you plan to hire remote employees in Europe, even if you only hire independent contractors, you should still research all of the necessary laws and regulations that both employees and employers are required to follow for payroll and taxes. 

4. Know employee benefits of specific country

If you hire remote independent contractors in Europe, you will not need to pay their employee benefits. Either the worker or the government will be responsible for administering benefits like pension or healthcare. However, if you plan to hire full-time remote employees, you will need to offer all of the benefits mandated by the government. 

Some countries like Spain and Portugal require employers to give their in-person and remote teams  large chunks of paid time off. Other countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom, have strong social security benefits and taxes that employers are required to pay as a part of each employee’s compensation and benefits package. 

Even if you plan to only hire remote independent contractors, you should still be aware of what employees are entitled to in their home country. Most importantly, if an employee is being treated as a full-time remote employee but classified as an independent contractor, they are able to sue your company for any benefits that you are shorting them by misclassifying them as independent contractors. 

5. Remote workers don’t need a visa in the US

According to US law, remote employees in Europe do not need a visa to be employed by a United States-based company as a remote worker abroad. Foreign workers do not need a work permit or visa to be employed by a US company, as long as they are not performing any duties on US soil. However, if you are employing a remote worker in another country, that employee will need a visa in order to legally live and work in the other country. 

6. Consider cultural and language differences

Although hiring remote employees in Europe has many advantages, you should still consider time zone and language differences for your remote workers abroad. Some employees may have their regular work days at a complete opposite time than during standard US work hours.

When you choose to hire employees in Europe, you should be aware of the cultural differences that separate United States culture from different countries in Europe. Many countries in Europe highly value a strong work/life balance, so if you want to make the jump to hiring here, be respectful and do some research about how people go about their day-to-day lives in the country you plan to hire in. 

Most importantly, you should strongly consider what language differences may exist. Many US-based companies are surprised when they hire employees in the UK and discover that, despite sharing a language, the country has a radically different culture. In countries where English isn’t the official language, the cultural differences can feel even more pronounced.

Why companies choose Via

Many businesses want to hire remote employees, but are unsure of how to navigate the work-from-home atmosphere. Via makes hiring international talent seamless. With our-easy-to-use platform, Via manages the local human resources processes for global employment such as work visas and permits, benefits, payroll, background checks, work data privacy, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-or-record/entity, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team. 

With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors across borders with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace. You can get started in 1-2 business days. That’s why a lot of businesses partner with an EOR service like Via. We expedite the process of hiring and recruiting, setting up HR, and adhering to all employment laws in other countries.

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Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
My name is Janelle Watson and I'm a Colorado native. I have a BA in English from University of Colorado Colorado Springs and an MA in English from University of Colorado Denver. Before moving to blog and copywriting, I was an English teacher for 3 years at the University of Colorado in Denver. Prior to writing for Via, I wrote reviews and content for a local concert and promotion company in Denver.

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  • Can you work a remote US job in Europe? 

  • Can a US company employ and pay someone in another country? 

  • Can I live in Italy and work remotely for a US company?