Different countries have varying laws and regulations governing employment, taxes, and employer-contractor relationships. These are the regulations and laws that every employer has to deal with when hiring international contractors. How you understand these regulatory nuances will help you work with contractors safely and legally. It also helps you protect your international interest and that of your global contractors.

So what are these laws and regulations? 

Below, we’ll bring you some of the most important laws you would come across when working with international contractors. We will also help you understand how they work and how you can navigate them to protect your business. Let’s start:

What are labour laws?

Labour laws are the rules and regulations that govern employment in each jurisdiction. They define the responsibilities of workers, trade unions, employers, and the relationship between these groups. From minimum wage to health and safety, every country has its own set of policies.

While there are “international labour laws” set by the International Labour Organization (ILO), you need to adhere to each country’s laws when hiring international contractors. 

Why should you take labour laws seriously when hiring global contractors?

Respecting and protecting workers

The main purpose of labour laws is to protect the workers and respect their rights. As a result, they ensure contractors are treated fairly according to their local laws – eliminating discrimination at work. 

Avoiding penalties

As an employer, adhering to labour laws helps you institute fair working conditions based on your global contractor’s country. When implemented well, you will avoid any penalties and legal setbacks.

Great reputation as an employer

Every company wants to be seen as being good: treating employees well and providing great products or services to society. Adhering to global labour laws is one of the best ways to build your reputation as an employer that cares about people.

To promote a stable workforce

By adhering to decent working conditions and fair compensation, you’ll be able to build a more stable and productive workforce.

The employment or labour laws you should understand when hiring international contractors

Each country has its own labour laws that are administered by their government agencies. When hiring international contractors, it's good to have an understanding of these varying regulations.

Key areas you should focus on:

Minimum wage 

Minimum wage is usually set to protect workers from unjustifiably low salaries. The rate set as minimum wage varies from country to country. There are also minimum wage differences in industry, employee type, and job levels.  

When working with international contractors, it's important to adhere to the minimum wage laws in their country. Ensure the salary you offer meets or exceeds these legal requirements. This is because paying below the minimum wage can spark legal issues or damage your company's reputation.


Benefits may seem a bit complex, but they’re actually easy to deal with. There are statutory (required by law) benefits and there are those that are not legally binding on you as an employer. 

What's considered a perk in one country might be mandatory in another, and variations can exist within countries as well. Always understand these nuances when hiring global contractors. Sometimes, the best option is to partner with a global HR/payroll provider that can help you navigate these complexities and ensure all statutory benefits are provided.

Classification of Workers

The distinction between employees and international contractors varies across countries. Misclassifying your next contract hire can lead to severe penalties, including fines or legal action. Once you’re able to understand local laws, you can determine the correct classification and avoid potential legal issues.

Contractual Agreements

Whenever you hire an international contractor, you should always have well-detailed agreements. This contract is critical to outline the scope of work, payment terms, intellectual property rights, termination clauses, and dispute resolution mechanisms. 

Understanding local contract laws ensures the agreement is valid and enforceable in the contractor's jurisdiction.


Every country has a tax law. However, tax laws for international contractors differ significantly from those for employees, as well as vary from country to country. 

To stay safe while hiring international contractors, you need to understand taxation in your jurisdiction and that of the contractor. With this sorted, you can be sure of avoiding compliance issues. 

Intellectual Property Rights

When working with international contractors, one of the most important considerations is to protect your firm’s interest. One way of doing that is through your intellectual property. Clearly define ownership of intellectual property (IP) during the contract. You should also take into consideration the fact that local IP laws may have different provisions regarding copyright, patents, and trademarks.

Data Protection and Privacy 

In most cases, your contractor might be handling your personal data. This is why it’s important to comply with data protection regulations like GDPR (if applicable). This ensures the privacy and security of sensitive information and helps you avoid potential breaches.

Termination and Dispute Resolution

Contractors leave, sometimes you have to terminate their contract, other times, you both agree to part ways. Once parties agree to end their relationship or have any disputes, there should be a legal way to do that or solve issues respectively. 

Local laws may dictate specific notice periods or severance pay requirements for terminating contracts. Understanding these provisions helps ensure a smooth and legal termination process. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with local dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration or mediation, can help resolve conflicts.

Conclusion: How to stay compliant when hiring international contractors

Let’s imagine this scenario: You've found the right international contractor for one of your projects, but they live in a different country from yours. Sometimes, it’s not fear that drives businesses away. It’s the cumbersome process that comes with hiring international contractors.

The thought of managing contracts across borders, handling multi-currency payments, and adhering to local regulations is just overwhelming. 

That's where Arbonum could really help your business. Over the years, Arbonum has built a platform designed to take the stress out of international hiring. Global payroll, HR services, multi-currency payments, KYC, and more are what Arbonum does for businesses hiring international contractors.