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Ask HN: Why Are There `Remote: Only US` or `Remote: Only Europe` Jobs?
23 points by kishansagathiya 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments
I am under an impression that there are limited software engineers in US and EU, which is why they have to hire from everywhere else. And with anti-immigration regimes companies are now turning towards remote work. But seeing job listing with `Remote: Only US` or `Remote: Only EU` makes me wonder if I am wrong in thinking that?

Can someone here who is responsible for creating such vacancies or anyone who knows clarify about why they have this condition?

Mostly because of 2 reasons:

1. They dont want to deal with complex legal, immigration and employment laws. If you are a US company, you can just deal with IRS and state laws.

2. They want you to be able to easily travel to headquarters if needed. Much easier if you are in the country.

The reality is that remote hiring is awesome but there are legal and HR related risks that most companies dont want to deal with.

3: It's easier to work when everyone's working hours overlap

Many countries share a time zone with the US

None of them are in Europe though...

In my experience it is usually for legal reasons. In those places the employer knows the lay of the land as far as employment law and an a independant and predictable legal system that is also understood / preditible.

I worked for a company that had some major banks and financal institutions. Anyone working on their systems had to be a US citizen, living in the US (even the european banks required that at times).

I was actually involved with one customer who I happened across some strange monitoring setups and it turned out it was the remnants of a company they used that was based outside the US / Europe when the company was expanding quickly. This outsourced company could not explain why they did what they did and after an internal investigation / consultation from legal they realized how little leverage they had with this outsourcing company (pretty much none). It could have been incompetence, but from what I saw the setup was far from something you'd do 'accidentally' or something you would do to accomplish another goal. After that they reviewed a lot of their outside companies and laid down a lot of new US (and sometimes some local exceptions) only rules. Fortunately for my employer they had already established those rules for similar reasons / other customers had demanded it.

For me, it's down to timezones. On a remote job advert I said I'd consider developers in Europe due to timezone overlap and an American developer e-mailed in saying, "but what if you just naturally get up really early". I hired him, it works just fine.

I think this is one of the main reasons. I work in the US and big part of the team is located in India. It's very complicated to find time for meetings or if you need to reach out to someone from that team.

It's easier to sue someone / take them to court. (both criminal court and civil court)

Also much, (like a LOT), cheaper to get local lawyers to handle non-international things.

Easier to ruin their life - shaming someone in the US could be devastating to their entire future work and possibly family life. Knowing how / where to do such in other countries is not normal domain knowledge.

You also don't need a passport to travel to their place and punch them in the face.

When actually doing the work: It's easier to figure time zones, weather issues, and holidays as well.

Language / accent barriers cost time and are extra work too.

Given the above situations, work done cheaper over-the-border has to be re-checked by someone local for security issues / backdoors are more of an issue.

In my very small data points / experiences, ymmv.

When I've seen a U.S. company "hire" an engineer outside of the country, they tend to end up having to do it as a contractor instead of as a FT Employee. When I see "Remote: Only US," there's a high chance they're not looking to hire on a contractor.

Reason being taxes and labor relations laws (PTO requirements, health insurance isn't going to extend to your country -- or really any of the benefits package).

I've been with remote employers who will go a step further and also restrict individual states (e.g. no California) or only hire in states where they have existing employees to reduce the load on HR.

They'll need to register in each State they've got employees. If they're taking on employees internationally, they might need to set up some kind of legal entity in that country. Which if it's a country like China, oh boy, that's a lot of paperwork.

Two reasons that come to my mind: 1. legal burden of hiring globally 2. while allowing remote work, the company might not be set up for asynchronous communication

Adding to the main reasons already mentioned by others; it's also about culture. Most companies have the perception that people who live close-by are more likely to fit into the existing culture. With that in mind, it does make sense to prioritize people in the same country/continent even for remote work.

Also, the demand-suply for remote working engineers is way different, so it can be an alternative to relocting from abroad.

I think you got an answer to your question. Legal reasons would be the number one reason, most likely.

What I wonder is, how does Gitlab do it? They hire pretty much anywhere in the world, and somehow, it seems unlikely they have a legal representing entity in all the countries.

They have legal entities in quite a few countries, but most of them are in countries that have labour-friendly rules. https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/finance/payroll/#legal-ent...

Everywhere else it must be similar to freelancing. You give them receipts and they pay. But you still have a contract with the company. But if you both are in different countries I am not sure how much practical value does that contract have.

Freelancing is what I thought, but then, their benefits wouldn't be enforcible. As in, if they tell you they'll give you 20 days off a year, but then, you've been unable to take more than 5 due to crunch, nobody's gonna be there for you.

Some products destined for government require a certain percentage being made in the country. Voters like that sort of thing. As if you spend 50K on a national hire, you might be able to spend 20K on imported hardware.

I know some government contracts require that “the data doesn’t leave the US” my understanding is that this is to discourage subcontracting to non-US companies

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