International Employment Laws

Expanding Overseas: How Not to Fall Foul of International Employment Laws

Follow Us:

Finding success at home is great, but there may come a time when you want to take your business to the next level and establish a presence overseas. Countless companies from the US have done this over the years. From McDonald’s to Microsoft, homegrown businesses have found immense success on the world stage. You could do the same, but only if you’re willing to admit that new markets present new challenges you might not be equipped to handle.

There’s no substitute for local knowledge in business, not least when it comes to legal issues. Elon Musk found this out to his cost in February 2024 when a labor court ruled that Tesla had violated German union election rules [1]. If a multi-billion-dollar company like Tesla can fall foul of international employment laws, then anyone can. That’s why you need to get your company’s affairs in order before you expand overseas.

Things to Consider Before You Travel Abroad

The first thing you need to do is identify what some of the potential issues are. There are, of course, a ton of known and unknown variables, but some things to consider before you take your business abroad are:

  • Contracts and how they’re handled in different countries
  • Intellectual property (IP)
  • Data protection
  • Tax reporting requirements and obligations
  • Licenses and insurance

All countries have their own ways of doing things. For example, let’s say you’re an American CEO setting up a new office in London. The aim is to use London as a base to expand the company’s operations into Europe. You hire some local talent but quickly realize there’s a need to look further afield. Recruiting skilled foreign workers in the UK requires adherence to clear regulations under which companies need to be licensed by the government.

You may already be aware that companies can only employ immigrating workers who hold a Skilled Worker visa – this allows international workers the right to work for licensed UK employers. However, once you get into the nuances of this work visa, you’ll discover that you, as a company, need to hold a sponsor license and guarantee a minimum salary (the standard figure is changing from April 4, 2024, and may also differ depending on the role in question). Similarly, workers need to meet similar standards, such as having at least £1,270 in their bank account and minimum qualifications.

Delegation is Paramount when You’re Growing

International Employment Laws

These are just some of the requirements both parties need to comply with when it comes to the UK’s skilled worker visa. As a CEO watching things unfold from the US, you can’t realistically expect to have a handle on these nuances. That’s why you must liaise with local experts. Your job, as it is at home, is to find talent and delegate the workload to suitably qualified individuals. In this context, it means outsourcing [2] and working with lawyers who understand UK employment laws.

The strategy applies in all countries. This is, perhaps, more important than having a definitive business strategy in whatever country you’re expanding into. Business issues affect your income and can be rectified relatively quickly. Legal issues can’t. Aside from fines hurting your bottom line, the ramifications of breaking the law could lead to all sorts of problems. Therefore, if you’re going to take your business beyond the borders of your own country, make sure you’ve got a team of local lawyers supporting you.

Further Reading:

1. Tesla runs into legal issues in Germany

2. The benefits of outsourcing



Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Scroll to Top

Hire Us To Spread Your Content

Fill this form and we will call you.