The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Overseas for Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations and NGOs often have the opportunity to fill their staffing needs with workers located overseas.

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For some nonprofits, this will be a natural result of their mission where they require local staff on the ground in a foreign country, as well as skilled expats assigned to fill certain technical or leadership roles.

Other nonprofits may look to hire employees abroad simply based on skill sets and availability to work remotely from their own country.  These roles are not ‘country-specific’ and instead are a way of accessing global talent regardless of the worker’s location.  Some nonprofits might want to fill roles with staff from multiple countries, so that would require extra planning and coordination by HR prior to hiring, to meet differing foreign employment rules.

What Nonprofits Need to Consider Before Hiring Overseas

Before hiring workers abroad, there are a few points to consider to be sure that your nonprofit knows how to be in compliance with local employment laws.  Your nonprofit status does not bring any exceptions to meeting employment requirements, and you will be treated just like any other employer.

1. Are there hiring restrictions in the host country?

Some countries impose hiring restrictions, especially for expats that could be viewed as taking a position that could be filled by a local. For instance, in the Philippines, an expat employee must have skills or talents that are not locally available, or they won’t qualify for a work permit.

Additionally, most countries will have some type of anti-discrimination law to be followed during the hiring process, based on age, gender or race.  If you want to run a background check on a prospective recruit, you may find that local authorities are reluctant to release information to foreign entities, so you will have to rely on other methods.

2. What are the local contract and employment laws?

Every country sets its own employment laws, and the contracts and policies that you use in your home country may not be applicable.  For example, France will require that all contracts be drafted in French, even if you also supply an English version, and should reflect French labor laws. 

Hiring an employee might be easy abroad, but termination of employment in countries like the UAE, Singapore and Malaysia will require notice of one to four weeks depending on the length of service.  There must be some type of justifiable cause for the dismissal, unlike the US where an employee can be terminated for any reason, at any time...read more

Shield GEO makes international employment simple. Our customers use Shield GEO to employ and payroll hundreds of workers in over fifty countries. Find out more.

Go to the profile of Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess

Director, Shield GEO Services Ltd

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