Remote working – a dream or a nightmare?

Published on October 21th, 2020

2020 has been an incredible year for remote working, with the global pandemic achieving something that years of campaigning had not – working from home is now not only socially acceptable but actively desirable.

Home Office from Abroad

Throughout the globe, workers have exchanged commuting for the comfort of their own home.

Just how idyllic is remote working? Is it possible to truly live the dream? Both companies and individuals have a vested interest. The idea of combining working with sitting on the beach drinking cocktails is definitely alluring, but what are the drawbacks?

Corporate Perspective

From a company’s perspective, the global pandemic has thrown up plenty of hurdles. Many companies started the year having found the ideal candidates for their specialist jobs, then come March it became impossible to bring these specialists from Brazil, for example, to Germany. Even now that Germany has opened its borders; many of the other countries are still in lockdown, meaning that these people cannot leave. So, is remote working maybe the answer? Can a Brazilian be employed by a German company, working remotely from Brazil?

On top of this, the company has to bear in mind that having employees work from another country could mean that they are unknowingly setting up a permanent establishment with its own tax implications. There is also a risk of stealth expatriates being scattered across the globe without the knowledge of the company’s HR department.

Employees Dream

Turn the tables and think about the employee. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live on a remote, desert island with low infection rates, plenty of nature, and sunshine? Or, to fulfill your lifelong dream of moving to Germany, now that you don’t have to be in the office in person anyway? It sounds idyllic, but once you start to think about work permits, social security, taxes, and health insurance, things can start to get very complicated. Where are you liable to pay your taxes? Do you get to choose? Or will you end up having to pay taxes in both countries? And it’s not just taxes, these questions also apply to social security.

New Rules Worldwide

Each country has its own rules and regulations and these, in turn, depend on which country the worker is coming from, what his profession is, and how much he earns. There are a huge number of potential combinations and it really is different in every case! For example, countries such as Bermuda and Estonia are now encouraging foreigners to come to work with special visas. Estonia has introduced a so-called Nomand Visa Program. On the other hand, though, say a German individual wants to work for their company in Germany while living in the US. Not only does he need a work permit, he has to think of healthcare, which he has for the EU, but not for the US. 

Getting Help

There is a lot of work to be done before starting on an endeavor like this. And this is where ExpatsGuide can help you. We have years of experience in immigration and are the experts for expats. So get in touch with our team and we can help you to make your remote working dreams come true.

Related Topics

Skilled Immigration Act

Fast-Track Immigration

Jenny Leibe

Jenny is a British citizen who has been living in Germany (Heidelberg, Berlin, Marbach am Neckar) since 2008. She has also lived in Scotland, England, Sweden, and Spain. She has plenty of experience in moving to new countries and getting to know new cultures and is now putting these to good use in her work as a Relocation Consultant.

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