What to Consider When Sending a Foreign Employee Abroad to Work

H-1B employee

In today’s interconnected world, companies often send their employees on overseas assignments. While there are many different factors to consider when sending a U.S. worker overseas, the situation becomes more complicated when dealing with foreign national (FN) employees. A company must take various steps to ensure that FN employees comply with both U.S. immigration laws and the regulations of their host country.

Assessment of impact on visa status

Before sending a FN employee on a short- or long-term international assignment, it is a good idea to consult with your immigration attorney to assess how the overseas work assignment may affect their status. current visa status, whether positively or negatively.

For example, employees holding H-1B visa are not considered to have “H-1B status” when working outside the United States. This means that days spent abroad do not count toward the six-year maximum allowed in the United States under H-1B status. Therefore, a temporary overseas assignment could extend the length of time an employee is authorized to work in the United States.

Conversely, an employee who has obtained a green card through your company may have specific compliance requirements. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) must spend at least six months per year in the United States to maintain their green card status. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in loss of the green card. Although exceptions exist, it is a good idea to obtain advice from your immigration attorney before proceeding. If an LPR employee must travel internationally for an overseas assignment lasting six months or more, you may consider applying for a re-entry permit (Form I-131).

Visa requirements for the host country

Although your FN employee is currently employed in the United States, visa regulations in the country they are sent to will depend on their current citizenship. It is essential to understand the specific visa requirements for your FN employee’s travel and employment in the foreign country. You will also need to take into account the time required to obtain the necessary visa.

Payroll Considerations for International Assignments

When sending an FN employee on a mission abroad, it is generally a good idea to keep them on the American payroll. Moving them to a foreign company’s payroll could result in them losing their employee status with your U.S. company, potentially jeopardizing their current visa status. In such cases, your company may need to initiate a new petition with USCIS before the FN employee can return to their position in the United States with approved visa documents.

Additionally, the United States has tax treaties with several foreign countries, allowing reduced tax rates and exemptions. However, if the host country does not have such a treaty, standard tax obligations apply.

Valid travel documents

An often overlooked but crucial aspect is to check that the FN employee’s travel documents are up to date. You want to make sure they can re-enter the United States on their existing or previously held visa. Consult your immigration attorney to confirm that the FN employee has a valid U.S. visa in their passport, a passport that remains valid for reentry, and proof of current employment with the U.S. company, usually shown by recent pay slips and, if necessary. , a sponsorship letter.

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