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Is it possible to work remotely from Europe?
Old 06-26-2018, 01:28 PM   #1
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Is it possible to work remotely from Europe?

Hi everyone,

I'm a 25 years old, single Spanish industrial design engineer with a MD in startup and innovation management, currently working in IT consulting; with a certified proficiency level in English (side note: that doesn't mean I talk or write perfectly in English, I can make mistakes like everyone).

Right now I am living in Spain, were it seems that since 2008 "crash" salaries to have gotten quite stuck. Maybe it's because it's my first year officially working, but I believe this past situation of the country seems to add a bit of inertia at the beginning. I'm ok at my job, because I have lots of opportunities to learn about topics that interest me, but I think I should search for ways to increase my income sources to be able to obtain more FI and RE.

One suggestion that I got from Golden sunsets was to see if there was a possibility to work remotely from Europe to US, and use that as a possible way to increase my earnings. If there's anyone that has worked from abroad to US, it could be a bit of help to get some input about some considerations I should take into account.

I am also open to other suggestions that differ from this option just to broaden the horizon of possible choices.

Thanks in advance.

Regards
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:52 PM   #2
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That would be a five hour early start for you. If you worked in London your day would need to start at 4am for you to collaborate with folks in the US office for those pesky 9am meetings East Coast Time. If it was a west coast comany, that 9am meeting comes at 2am.

With that being said, its entirely possible with some sort of proper arrangement, after all half of the US IT industry was off-shore in India before we elected new officials.
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:06 PM   #3
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Depends on the global presence (or lack thereof) of the company. But while it is feasible to work remotely in another country, it's not good for a long term career if the leadership is not local. Even if you can help with some of the EU customers, if the company is US-based and focused, you'll always be on the periphery vs. the core.

You'll also be at greater risks when cuts occur if your boss has a team that is mostly in the US - they'll fight to protect the folks they see often, the ones they stop in the hall for advice, or call into their office for help with real-time issues. And you'll be less likely to get promoted for the same reasons.
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:22 PM   #4
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If you worked in London your day would need to start at 4am for you to collaborate with folks in the US office for those pesky 9am meetings East Coast Time.
Um, I think you have that backwards.
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:30 PM   #5
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I work remotely in the US for last 5-6 years
And always was wondering if I could work from Europe.
My boss' answer was "yes" but not for too long, so 1,2,3 months OK and then tax issues may come to play.

Maybe someone knows details on "why"
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:45 PM   #6
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That would be a five hour early start for you. If you worked in London your day would need to start at 4am for you to collaborate with folks in the US office for those pesky 9am meetings East Coast Time. If it was a west coast comany, that 9am meeting comes at 2am.
It's the other way around. 9:00 AM EST is 3:00 PM in Spain, so he will only be losing his siesta instead of getting up before dawn.

I live on the west coast and often worked with off-shore teams and remote employees. The only time I had someone in Europe was a military spouse who went with his wife to Rota, Spain and lived on a U.S. Navy base, so he wasn't subject to Spanish laws.

It's very difficult for a U.S. employer to have a single employee based in Europe because of tax and other financial issues. No U.S. company wants to have to figure out how to pay for employment taxes to the Spanish government for one person, and they don't want the risk of potentially having to file corporate tax returns there or deal with EU regulations. It gets very complicated quickly.

Your best bet is to find a U.S. company like IBM, Microsoft, Agilent that has operations in Spain and try to get a job with them. Not so they'll pay you U.S. wages (they won't), but so you can eventually work your way into an overseas assignment.
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Old 06-26-2018, 06:30 PM   #7
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It's the other way around. 9:00 AM EST is 3:00 PM in Spain, so he will only be losing his siesta instead of getting up before dawn.



I live on the west coast and often worked with off-shore teams and remote employees. The only time I had someone in Europe was a military spouse who went with his wife to Rota, Spain and lived on a U.S. Navy base, so he wasn't subject to Spanish laws.



It's very difficult for a U.S. employer to have a single employee based in Europe because of tax and other financial issues. No U.S. company wants to have to figure out how to pay for employment taxes to the Spanish government for one person, and they don't want the risk of potentially having to file corporate tax returns there or deal with EU regulations. It gets very complicated quickly.



Your best bet is to find a U.S. company like IBM, Microsoft, Agilent that has operations in Spain and try to get a job with them. Not so they'll pay you U.S. wages (they won't), but so you can eventually work your way into an overseas assignment.


+1
Taxes are what will kill this plan unless you become a local hire (meaning employed by the Spanish subsidiary) of a multi-national corporation as cathy63 suggests.

The cost of an expat assignment for an employer was 3x the employee salary, depending on the home and host countries involved when I was overseeing expats 8 years ago at a mini-mega. I assume it is higher now.
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Old 06-26-2018, 07:04 PM   #8
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Hi everyone,

I'm a 25 years old, single Spanish industrial design engineer with a MD in startup and innovation management, currently working in IT consulting; with a certified proficiency level in English (side note: that doesn't mean I talk or write perfectly in English, I can make mistakes like everyone).

Right now I am living in Spain, were it seems that since 2008 "crash" salaries to have gotten quite stuck. Maybe it's because it's my first year officially working, but I believe this past situation of the country seems to add a bit of inertia at the beginning. I'm ok at my job, because I have lots of opportunities to learn about topics that interest me, but I think I should search for ways to increase my income sources to be able to obtain more FI and RE.

One suggestion that I got from Golden sunsets was to see if there was a possibility to work remotely from Europe to US, and use that as a possible way to increase my earnings. If there's anyone that has worked from abroad to US, it could be a bit of help to get some input about some considerations I should take into account.

I am also open to other suggestions that differ from this option just to broaden the horizon of possible choices.

Thanks in advance.

Regards
You really have to have some specialized skills to get work from international companies. I did some "moonlighting" contract work for a Canadian company and a Dutch company on a remote contract basis in the early 80's. However, my specialty at that time was compiler design/code generation, operating systems, and device drivers. Very few people concentrated in that area of computer science at that time (and even today). The companies contacted professors at UC Berkeley who referred them to me. I did similar work during my under graduate/graduate studies and they knew I was doing the same type of work for a local technology company. I worked on a fixed contract basis with a performance payment schedule. One contract led to another (both local, out of state, out of country) and it continued until I got promoted to senior management positions and married.
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Old 06-27-2018, 02:00 AM   #9
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Thanks for all your perspectives.

I was wondering if the scenario would change a bit in case I had a small business that provided those services instead of being an employee (like an S.L.U. or being an "autónomo"). I guess taxes would still be an issue, right?

I think that working for a subsidiary could be a good option, to open other opportunities long term. I will keep that in mind.

Another possibility I was thinking of (for remote working), but I guess this would only work short term, is provide remote services to other countries inside Europe. But I guess I would have to check how things work (which services are valued most, how taxes are applyed, etc.).
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:49 AM   #10
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Thanks for all your perspectives.

I was wondering if the scenario would change a bit in case I had a small business that provided those services instead of being an employee (like an S.L.U. or being an "autónomo"). I guess taxes would still be an issue, right?

I think that working for a subsidiary could be a good option, to open other opportunities long term. I will keep that in mind.

Another possibility I was thinking of (for remote working), but I guess this would only work short term, is provide remote services to other countries inside Europe. But I guess I would have to check how things work (which services are valued most, how taxes are applyed, etc.).
Yes, if you own a business, and a U.S. company contracts with your firm to do some work, then that simplifies the situation considerably for the U.S. company. The U.S. company pays your Spanish company and reports that on their U.S. balance sheet/taxes as an expense, but they don't have to deal with Spain or the EU at all. Your Spanish company is responsible for paying its employees a salary, handling all Spanish tax issues, and dealing with all the EU labor regulations. That's actually how most offshoring works now.

In order to attract interest from U.S. companies to work with your small firm, you will need to develop a professional skill that is scarce in the U.S. and also not available from your much cheaper competitors in China, India, Russia, Argentina, etc. IT and startup consulting has a lot of local expertise in the U.S. and also competition from foreign firms, so it will be very difficult to make a mark there. Maybe industrial design is more wide open and you might find work that way.
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:15 AM   #11
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I think you have to ask yourself, why would someone hire you to work remotely, especially across an ocean? What's the benefit to them to take a chance on you?

I got to work remotely because I spent 7 years working in the office, and had a good enough reputation for getting work done and not needed a lot of supervision. In other words, I earned the right.

I know a few people who got hired and immediately worked remotely. These were industry expects, well-known and respected among their peers and above, so hiring them on their terms was still a very good hire.

If you there is great demand for your skill, and companies just can't find anyone to hire and work locally, you may have a chance. Still, if you are unknown, don't be surprised if you get no takers.

Cost would be another alternative. If they can hire you for a much cheaper wage than someone local, that could work in your favor. But you are looking to increase your income, so I don't know if that's really attractive to you.

Maybe if you came and worked onsite for a probation period, say, 3-6 months, they would then let you work remotely. But if they aren't convinced, you'd either have to stay local, or be let go.

Maybe things have changed since I was working, but this is how I see it. There probably are more jobs these days where they just don't want to provide office space, so it really doesn't matter so much where you work from.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:24 PM   #12
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Yes, if you own a business, and a U.S. company contracts with your firm to do some work, then that simplifies the situation considerably for the U.S. company. The U.S. company pays your Spanish company and reports that on their U.S. balance sheet/taxes as an expense, but they don't have to deal with Spain or the EU at all. Your Spanish company is responsible for paying its employees a salary, handling all Spanish tax issues, and dealing with all the EU labor regulations. That's actually how most offshoring works now.

In order to attract interest from U.S. companies to work with your small firm, you will need to develop a professional skill that is scarce in the U.S. and also not available from your much cheaper competitors in China, India, Russia, Argentina, etc. IT and startup consulting has a lot of local expertise in the U.S. and also competition from foreign firms, so it will be very difficult to make a mark there. Maybe industrial design is more wide open and you might find work that way.
Thanks cathy63, very informative. It's true, competition is high in IT, I will save your suggestion regarding industrial design. This reminded me about a person I met some years ago, who was studying a PhD in a field that is high in demand (there were reletively few experts in that moment, I belive that maybe less than 10), and the thesis tutor was retiring so there would be less. That person now is working in a top university from US and is hired for consulting jobs all across the globe.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:26 PM   #13
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I think you have to ask yourself, why would someone hire you to work remotely, especially across an ocean? What's the benefit to them to take a chance on you?

I got to work remotely because I spent 7 years working in the office, and had a good enough reputation for getting work done and not needed a lot of supervision. In other words, I earned the right.

I know a few people who got hired and immediately worked remotely. These were industry expects, well-known and respected among their peers and above, so hiring them on their terms was still a very good hire.

If you there is great demand for your skill, and companies just can't find anyone to hire and work locally, you may have a chance. Still, if you are unknown, don't be surprised if you get no takers.

Cost would be another alternative. If they can hire you for a much cheaper wage than someone local, that could work in your favor. But you are looking to increase your income, so I don't know if that's really attractive to you.

Maybe if you came and worked onsite for a probation period, say, 3-6 months, they would then let you work remotely. But if they aren't convinced, you'd either have to stay local, or be let go.

Maybe things have changed since I was working, but this is how I see it. There probably are more jobs these days where they just don't want to provide office space, so it really doesn't matter so much where you work from.
Your experience is really helpful, thanks for sharing this piece of advice. I'll definitely have it in mind when analyzing strategies for my career (even the ones that don't necessarily imply working remotely).
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Old 06-27-2018, 02:16 PM   #14
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No one has really discussed what kind of work could be done. For reasons mentioned, it will be difficult to get professional engineering work.

Probably your best opportunity is to get into technical sales for an English, American, or other anglophone company. Often there are in-country or traveling sales guys, then the sales guys are supported by an engineering type who makes the sales guys promises come true or diplomatically modifies the customer's expectation. These can be quite interesting jobs and often also attract job offers or referrals from customers.

Picking up a third language like French would make you even more valuable. French opens up more of Europe and also a lot of Africa.

(to be politically correct: guys = both sexes)
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Old 06-28-2018, 03:56 AM   #15
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No one has really discussed what kind of work could be done. For reasons mentioned, it will be difficult to get professional engineering work.

Probably your best opportunity is to get into technical sales for an English, American, or other anglophone company. Often there are in-country or traveling sales guys, then the sales guys are supported by an engineering type who makes the sales guys promises come true or diplomatically modifies the customer's expectation. These can be quite interesting jobs and often also attract job offers or referrals from customers.

Picking up a third language like French would make you even more valuable. French opens up more of Europe and also a lot of Africa.

(to be politically correct: guys = both sexes)
Thanks OldShooter, yes, I hadn't thought about that. This could be a good option, I'll have it in mind.
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