International Hiring FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Browse the FAQs below about hiring internationally, and contact us if your question hasn’t yet been answered.
In general, the University cannot directly employ individuals abroad. Every country has its own employment laws, statutory benefits/social insurance regulations, tax laws, immigration laws, and currency. The University’s US payrolls are not set up to comply with local employment and tax laws in countries all over the world. However, Harvard has developed multiple international hiring approaches (PEOs, Harvard-affiliated offices, and partner organizations) that allow overseas work compliant with University policy and US and local restrictions.
In limited cases, payroll providers may be able to sponsor work authorization; however, this service incurs additional administrative costs to the Harvard department and requires significantly more lead time before an employee can be onboarded, begin their work, and get paid.
Applying for work authorization with the local government can be a lengthy process, and individuals must have legal authorization to work in the country where they are located. If your prospective employee will need assistance with work authorization, please let your GSS consultant know about this when inquiring about suitable employment options.
Based on employment regulations and practices, most countries require that employees be paid in the local currency. If you need to evaluate alternative options, please let your GSS consultant know about this when inquiring about suitable employment options to determine if an exception can be made in US dollars.
The process for determining exchange rates may vary by the payroll provider. For example, we use oanda.com to determine exchange rates for the PEO employment agreements, whereas other providers may use an historical average from the previous payroll period. Let your GSS consultant know if you and your employee have agreed on an exchange rate or a set compensation in local currency.
In most cases, international payroll providers are unable to manage hourly payments. We can work with you to devise a suitable monthly amount.
Typically, payments are made once at the end of the month, but this could vary by country. If you choose to pay an employee outside of the payroll provider's typical payroll cycle, you will incur extra fees (which will be noted in the service agreement you sign with the provider).
Based on employment regulations and practices, most countries require that employees be paid via a local bank account. If you need to evaluate alternative options, please let your GSS consultant know about this when inquiring about suitable employment options. Payroll providers rarely make exceptions.
Payment of salaries from sponsored funds to individuals who are living or residing outside of the US is subject to a number of legal, regulatory, and funder-specific requirements. Such payments must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure compliance with the requirements. See the Office of Sponsored Programs guidance about payments on sponsored funds outside of the United States.
Employer-owed benefits vary by country and are mandated by local law where the individual is working. If your department would like to offer an employee additional benefits beyond what is required by law, please inquire with your GSS consultant. Offerings vary by location and are usually managed by the payroll provider.
For certain situations where it is deemed necessary and appropriate, the School or department can create an unpaid Harvard appointment in PeopleSoft so that individuals hired by an international entity can access Harvard systems. Follow your School’s or unit’s unpaid appointment processes for setting up these types of appointments.