12 October 2023 3 minutes

A complete guide to paying international employees

Paying international employees can be a complex process, but with the right knowledge and tools, it can be streamlined. Learn how in our complete guide to paying international employees.
A complete guide to paying international employees

With the rise of technology – specifically remote work, sourcing talent from around the world is essential for the success of businesses that operate globally. Companies like Apple, Unilever, Microsoft and more are all employing remote talent from across the globe. 

If you’re considering employing global talent, or have already expanded your team to worldwide status, you’ll need to know how to pay your employees – as well as the key factors to consider when doing so. We break down everything you need to know about paying your international employees, plus how to get set up with a 3S Money International Business Account for a smooth process.

Why businesses are going global when it comes to talent

Hiring international employees has become an attractive way to build the workforce and expand global reach for many businesses. Likewise, remote working opportunities are also becoming more attractive to workers across the globe. In a report published in 2021 on cross-border payroll and contractor payments, researchers found that 60% of UK and US executives upped their hiring of international workers between 2020-2021.

The benefits of hiring international employees

There are lots of benefits to employing international talent too. For one, it can help with increasing your company’s global reach. It can also be beneficial for:
  • Increasing your competitive edge overall.
  • Bringing new perspectives into your company (with local talent).
  • Enriching your workplace culture.

The legalities and things to consider


When hiring and paying international employees, businesses have a duty to adhere to local legal requirements. Some of those include:
  • Immigration laws
  • Tax laws
  • Payroll laws
  • Local employment laws (such as work visas, sponsorship requirements etc.)
  • Cultural considerations that may impact work
You should also be careful when classifying employees on legal documents – for example, distinguishing whether someone is an employee or contractor. There are penalties for misclassification which vary from country to country. In the U.S for example, businesses can be hit with a variety of fines from the IRS, starting from $50 plus 1.5% of wages paid – and don’t forget interest!

Common challenges businesses face when paying international employees

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of hiring international employees and the things you should consider when doing so, let’s delve into the common challenges businesses often face when paying their international employees. We’ll also explore how a 3S Money International Business Account can help you pay your international employees more efficiently.

Managing taxes

In the cross-border payment report mentioned earlier, 47% of firms said that managing taxes was their most challenging issue when it came to hiring globally. It’s important to stay on top of tax rules and regulations – if not you can potentially incur hefty fines. In May this year, popular retailer, Nike, faced potential tax fines of over $530m due to misclassifying thousands of temporary office workers.

Quick payments

Facilitating quick overseas payments is a common problem most people face, but it can be a real problem for businesses that want to pay their international employees. That’s because, with most banks, it can take up to five working days for international payments to be processed. Thankfully, with 3S Money, payments are instant in the UK, EU and Asia – and same day for all other international payments. Join the thousands of clients who are already using 3S Money to pay their international employees today. 

Compliance issues

Another common challenge businesses run into when paying international employees is keeping up to date with local laws and regulations to ensure compliance. Each jurisdiction will likely have different labour laws and tax regulations, so you’ll need to stay on top of these.

Bank fees and FX costs

From bank transfer fees to Foreign Exchange (FX), the additional costs associated with paying overseas employees can add another layer of challenge for businesses – especially those considered enterprise-level. Banks and other international payment providers may charge a percentage of the total amount you’re sending (up to 4%). Not only this but for SWIFT payments you can be expected to pay fees of up to $25 to send and receive international payments.

With a 3S Money account, you’ll only be charged $1 to send SWIFT payments and $0 to receive them. We also offer bank-beating FX rates on our transactions which means you can pay your international employees without losing unnecessary funds in the process. Check your eligibility for a business account and be pre-approved in under fifteen minutes. 

Paying international employees with a 3S Money account

With 3S Money, paying your international employees is easy. There’s no need to set up a legal entity and you can avoid the hassle of using a third-party service. Other benefits include:
  • 100% digital payment experience – which means you can pay your employees from anywhere in the world.
  • No transaction limits.
  • The flexibility to open as many local accounts as you need.
You can be up and running in four simple steps:
  1. Apply for an international business account and be pre-approved within 15 minutes.
  2. Once approved, log into your account and open a local IBAN account in the location where your employees work (and access the currency your employees require). 
  3. Avoid unnecessary FX fees, delays and stress compared to other global HR methods.
  4. Continue to expand your global workforce and enter new markets by opening as many sub-accounts in the currencies you need.​

Have total control over all your international payments from one 3S Money account

Ready to optimise your international payment operations? Start paying your international employees with a 3S Money International Business Account.

Meet the authors

Sharyh Murray


Sharyh is the lead Content Writer at 3S Money with a strong background in crafting high-quality, compelling fintech and FX-related articles. With extensive expertise in the field, Sharyh's writing resonates with a variety of audiences and drives action among readers, whatever the financial topic.


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