Top 3 Immigration Consequences for Shifting to a Permanent Remote Work Policy

November 9, 2020

Large multinational corporations such as Facebook and Microsoft have recently announced company policy shifts allowing employees to work from home permanently. It is important that employers carefully review and evaluate potential implications from an immigration, tax, and employment law perspective when making this decision.

Here are the top three immigration impacts employers need to be aware of when considering a permanent or hybrid remote work policy change:

  1. Complying with Labor and Employment Laws Becomes More Challenging
    • Having to identify, manage and resolve issues that are outside of your comfort zone.
      • Examples include:
        • Working hours and wage regulations especially nonexempt employees.
        • Tax consequences for employees and your organization.
        • Memorialize every conversation.
        • Have potential workers’ compensation issues been fully vetted?
        • Can you ensure your company’s policies on privacy and data security are being practiced?
        • What taxes must be withheld based on working location?
        • Does the jurisdiction within which your employee is remotely working have any particular employment law entitlements that you may not even have contemplated?
        • Is a Posted Work Notification necessary, if within Europe?
        • Does allowing your employee to work in a new location create any permanent establishment issues or corporate compliance concerns?

2. Immigration Compliance

    • Where is your “work from home” employee?
      • Another town/county?
      • Another state/province?
      • Another country?
    • What does this mean for work/residence permission/any future citizenship application?
    • If on a work permit, does a new application have to be made or might the current one be revoked on the basis of the employee’s absence from the country?
    • What about salary levels? Do they still meet salary conditions for the location where they now work?
    • Do you have a plan in place should your employees get “stuck” outside their home country? Think about renewals/extensions.
    • Social security considerations within Europe.

3. Make a Plan

    • Verify where your employees are. Know their immigration status and their allowed duration of stay.
    • Understand their current immigration status and seek advice as to whether actions are required.
    • Review local labor and employment laws of the jurisdiction in which an employee is performing work.
    • If some employees are not allowed a flexible work option, make sure the reasons for the decision are nondiscriminatory and well documented.
    • Consider immigration, employment and tax issues before amending any remote work policy.

How We Can Help

We welcome the opportunity to partner with you to evaluate your global mobility program and the possible repercussions of shifting to a permanent or hybrid remote work policy for your organization. Contact your dedicated Newland Chase or CIBTvisas representative to schedule a consultation. Don’t have one yet? Contact us here.

This publication is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are subject to change. We are not responsible for any loss arising from reliance on this publication. Please contact Newland Chase should you require any additional clarification or case specific advice.