WashU is not registered as an employer in locations outside of the United States. Depending on the circumstances, staffing in a location outside of the U.S. could implicate payroll, tax, immigration, employment and social welfare benefits and laws.

International remote work

Requests for U.S.-based employees to work outside of the United States must be in furtherance of departmental needs. In very limited and exceptional circumstances, requests to work remotely from outside of the U.S. may be approved. These arrangements must be reviewed and approved by department/school leadership and HR. Departments should contact Sara Wright, senior director, compliance to discuss these requests prior to agreeing to any such arrangement.

Options for staffing projects outside the U.S.

There are several possible options for staffing projects or activities outside of the United States. Please contact Sara Wright as soon as you know of a need to have staffing in another country as this must be approved by university administration, and if approved, onboarding can take 2-3 months to fully execute. 

Partnering with a local organization or university

This option may be appropriate when the project includes a subaward to an entity in the same country as the foreign individual. In these circumstances, the subawardee may be willing to employ the individual to work on the project. It is ideal to establish this understanding at the proposal stage. For sponsored projects, it is important to identify the partnering organization at the proposal stage so that such costs can be included in the subaward budget.

Partnering with a host country organization (usually another university) to employ the staff assigned to the project is generally the preferred and most cost effective staffing solution. The host country organization is responsible for ensuring that employment, tax, payroll and other requirements are met under the host country’s laws. 

Engaging an individual outside the U.S. as a consultant/independent contractor

This option may be appropriate when the engagement will be limited in scope and duration. Engagements should generally be for less than 90 days. For information on whether the individual can be considered an independent contractor, see HR’s website on independent contractors

Misclassifying an individual as a consultant/independent contractor instead of as an employee under the host country’s laws may result in significant legal consequences, including fines, penalties and retroactive payment of wages and benefits. For sponsored projects, when including individuals as consultants on a proposal it is critical to ensure they can be considered an independent contractor prior to submitting the proposal.

Contracting with an individual through an employment agency (Professional Employer Organization)

This option may be appropriate when:

  • The engagement will be with a new hire working outside the U.S. for an indefinite period of time.
  • The engagement will be with a current university employee who will be working from outside of the U.S. for more than 6 months.  This does not include faculty members engaging in research while on sabbatical.

The university has partnered with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), Mauve, to support ongoing employment outside of the United States in limited cases. Mauve will issue an employment contract with the employee and serve as the employer of record in these cases. The employees will have a non-employee role in university systems.

Departments are responsible for the cost of engaging the PEO. These costs include a set-up fee (generally $600 – $1,000) and a 12 – 15% markup on the employee’s salary, applicable local taxes, and benefits. Departments will be provided a Scope of Work, which includes estimated total costs prior to issuing an employment contract through Mauve. Payments to employees through Mauve will be in the local currency. In most cases, it will take between 6 – 8 weeks to issue a contract and begin employment through Mauve. Engagements through Mauve must be approved by department/school leadership. Requests to engage faculty through Mauve should be reviewed and approved by the Provost or Dean of the School of Medicine.


Senior Director, Compliance
Human Resources

Sara Wright