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. 

Occasionally, a project needs to be supported by hiring someone based 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.

In situations where MIT employees cannot work in a foreign country or MIT cannot hire an individual directly, the IPP team can help 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.

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.

Who is covered by this process?

The IPP team reviews requests for all staff, affiliates, and fellows performing work for/on behalf of MIT, regardless of whether the appointment is paid or unpaid. For guidance on remote student appointments performed outside the U.S., click here. Although the IPP team does not currently approve requests for faculty, information about faculty working abroad should be sent to the IPP team so they can track overall presence in each country and advise on and help mitigate potential risks.

How do I initiate the approval process?

The DLC should submit this brief intake form to the IPP team, so that they can conduct country-specific employment and labor-related research. Before submitting a form, the DLC should confirm that an employee has legal authorization to work in the country they’re requesting (either by being a citizen/permanent resident of that country or by having the proper visa/work permit).  

Employment options may include:

  • Direct employment by MIT – with or without the use of a third party payroll provider
  • Hiring through a third party employment agency, with assignment to MIT
  • Hiring or seconding through an MIT affiliated entity or a host country collaborator

Are there costs involved with international placements?

There is a cost of doing business abroad, whether it’s borne internally through additional administrative burdens or whether a DLC has to pay a mark-up for using a third party provider to handle in country compliance. Those external costs can vary depending on the country and service, and often cannot be charged to sponsored accounts.

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.