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That's more of a payroll/tax question but from an immigration perspective there's no issue - no immigration requirement - with putting people on the payroll of a US company if they are living/working outside. They can be employees without US work authorization. The challenge is when they need to come to the US because once they step on US soil, US immigration law applies so it's problematic for them to enter as a visitor under ESTA.

Thank you!

If I understand correctly, there might be an issue because they come to the US and they are working for (and receiving a salary from) a US company -- no matter if the money are paid abroad. Which violates the ESTA condition. Is that what you meant?

To the contrary, if they were working for a EU company (sister of the US company), then they could come to the US under ESTA/working, correct?

why is it a challenge?

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