Remote Workers Working From Their Home Country: US Work Authorization Not Required

The rapid changes in technology have meant that the world is growing smaller every day. With the push of a button, we can communicate with individuals around the world nearly instantaneously. These incredible advancements in technology have meant that many jobs which in the past could only be performed by people located within the United States are no longer limited to geographic boundaries.  Each day, thousands of people around the world, in nations like India and China, provide important services in the United States. These workers are not subject to U.S. labor laws or immigration laws which require work authorization before you can start working. This drastically lowers the cost of doing business and promotes working from another country compared to working from the United States.

Compared to people providing services in the United States from other countries, people who arrive in the United States and then attempt to work face significant hurdles that must be overcome. Current work authorization rules are governed by the location of the worker and not where the worker provides services.[i] Therefore, a worker living in India or China can provide services within the United States without needing any work authorization or any documentation from the U.S. government. In comparison, individuals who are not citizens of the United States or lawful permanent residents must have been admitted to the United States under a variety of legal classifications before they can accept employment.[ii]

The U.S.’s focus on the location of the worker compared to where the services are provided is the norm across much of the world. To focus on where each individual worker is providing services in our increasingly connected world would lead to massive government regulation and overreach into companies engaged in offshore or providing international services.II It is highly unlikely that these employment laws will be changed from their focus on the location of the worker at any time in the recent future.

[i] https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/8/274a.12

[ii] https://www.mofo.com/resources/publications/anti-outsourcing-laws-in-the-usa-attempts-to-keep-jobs-and-data-on-us-soil.html

By: Rahul Reddy

Rahul is the founding partner of Reddy & Neumann P.C. His practice covers employment-based immigration, in which he represents corporate clients in far-ranging industries.