Working Abroad and Hiring Internationally

The International People Placement (IPP) team can assist the MIT community by addressing questions related to working abroad, and providing a single point of contact for resources on topics ranging from employee benefits, taxes, export control, information technology, and visas. 


Due to the various restrictions imposed as a result of the current pandemic, many in the MIT community have requested to work temporarily from another country until they can return to the US. In response, a temporary review and approval process for students has been put in place (outlined here). For staff, the new process for COVID-related cases is similar to what is currently in place (outlined below) and is consistent with the policy on MIT Employees working outside MassachusettsAs before, the process begins with the submission of an intake form to the IPP team, with details about the appointee and the work that will be done outside the US. While not new, placement recommendations pay particular attention to compliance risks (US and local) and mitigation options, country-specific factors, sponsor/funding source, and nature of the work/sensitive research areas.  

IPP team services include:

  • Managing requests and questions that filter through Human Resource Officers (HROs), the ICC, or from the DLCs
  • Providing guidance throughout the planning process and gathering information needed to support informed decision-making
  • Advising on issues for MIT employees traveling on extended assignments abroad, including options for hiring, identifying potential costs, employee benefits, etc.

Occasionally, a project needs to be supported by hiring someone in a foreign country or having a current MIT employee working abroad for an extended period of time (longer than 30 days). For those cases, prior approval is required by either the Provost or EVPT, or by their designees. To initiate the approval process, please complete this brief intake form and email it to the IPP team, or fill out this webform, so that we can conduct country-specific employment and labor-related research. In situations where MIT employees cannot work in a foreign country or MIT cannot hire an individual directly, we can coordinate with your HRO to find a solution that works for your project and your budget. To learn more about the approval and notification process, and other topics related to working outside the US, please refer to the policy on MIT Employees working outside Massachusetts and/or this chart.

Employment options may include:

  • Direct employment by MIT – with frequent travel to, but not residence in, the country
  • Hiring through an MIT affiliated entity or a host country sponsor
  • Secondment agreement between MIT and an MIT affiliated entity or a host country sponsor
  • Hiring through a host country employment agency, with assignment to MIT
  • Hiring as an independent contractor, which must comply with the laws of the country

There are many factors to consider when structuring this relationship and it is important to evaluate the benefits and risks of each available option. Please contact the IPP team early in your planning to discuss the requirements of your project as some options require substantial lead time.

Mobility costs and employee benefits guidelines

MIT has guidelines around compensation, benefits, and support for faculty, principal investigators, staff, and students on a long-term assignment outside the U.S. for generally one to three years.

Depending on the project agreement, mobility costs may be borne by the sponsor, MIT, or the individual employee. Under the guidelines, costs are categorized by when the expenditure is made.

  • Pre-assignment costs include travel and shipment of goods, and items such as visas, work permits, and tax briefing.  
  • On-assignment costs such as cost of living adjustments, health benefits, tax equalization, and periodic travel home.  
  • Post-assignment costs include additional tax briefing(s), return shipment of goods, and travel home.

While these guidelines apply to long-term assignments, they may also be helpful for assignments that are shorter than a year but longer than typical business travel. For more information, including requesting a copy of the Guidelines and/or a checklist of the items covered in the Guidelines, please contact the IPP team.

Learn more about traveling abroad.