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Going Global – Starter Guide

How we simplify Global Expansion & Employment

Expand and hire globally, without a local entity

Horizons Global PEO allows companies to expand overseas and employ staff in new markets and locations without the need to set up a separate legal entity.

This means your company can start doing business overseas in full compliance with employment, tax and other regulations, and without delay. 

This allows you to begin operations more quickly, and saves up to 85% of the cost of expansion.

Global hiring solutions with multiple benefits

Choose Horizons as your global hiring partner for an efficient and cost-effective global expansion
24 Hours Hiring

With our Global PEO, you can begin operations overseas without setting up a local entity.

Hire a Global Workforce

Unique in possessing its own in-house recruitment team, Horizons ensures that you can hire top talent and reach your company’s true potential.

Expand in Multiple Countries

We operate in over 150 countries, meaning one hiring partner for all your global locations.

Expansion Cost Savings

Our hiring solutions save you up to 85% on the cost of expansion, and for less than our competitors charge.

Everything in One Invoice

We manage all tax withholding, employee benefits and payments for you. This means employee payments, over all locations, are handled in one convenient invoice.

Global Hiring Simplified

Our solutions cover Global PEO, recruitment, payroll, HR and compliance. This means just one contact point for your global hiring needs.

What does Horizons do?

Horizons is an international hiring partner and Global Professional Employer Organization (Global PEO). That means that we:

  • Assess your business situation and provide strategic advice on how you should implement your global hiring
  • Act as a global/international PEO and ‘Employer of Record’ for your global workforce, wherever they are located
  • Manage global payroll, tax withholding, and benefits administration for your employees
  • Assist you in setting up a legal entity (e.g., a subsidiary company) in any chosen country
  • Use our in-house recruitment team to search out top talent for your firm.

Horizons is the most ‘global’ of Global PEOs. It is able to recruit workers in more than 150 countries, has a substantial presence in Asia and Europe, works across all international time zones, and has the senior staff capable of speaking all the world’s main languages.

What is a Global PEO?

A Global/International PEO manages employees on behalf of businesses that are hiring overseas. Global PEO encompasses:

  • Hiring and onboarding employees
  • Administering employees payroll and benefits
  • A range of additional HR duties such as renewing contracts and dismissing employees.

Working with a Global PEO means companies can hire overseas quickly, compliantly and at a lower cost than they could by setting up on their own.

As the ‘Employer of Record’, the Global PEO takes on compliance responsibility for employees, including tax and payroll requirements.  While the Global PEO becomes the legal employer, the client company retains full control of employees. This leaves the company to pursue its core business objectives, while the global PEO takes on employer responsibilities (and liabilities).

While services differ between providers, some Global PEOs provide additional services such as recruitment, HR an legal entity establishment.

What are the benefits of Global PEO?

Benefits of engaging a Global PEO include:

01. One partner for your international hiring

Using a global PEO means streamlining your global hiring: There is no need to deal with different service providers in every country that you operate in. Furthermore, there is no need to deal with a different provider for each aspect of expansion. The Global PEO manages the entire ‘lifecycle’ of the expansion and takes charge of recruitment, hiring, HR and legal compliance

02. Up-to-date legal compliance

It is crucial that companies comply with all the tax and employer regulations in every country that they operate in. Failure to comply can result in significant fines and penalties. As compliance specialists, a Global PEO takes over this compliance responsibility, alleviating the risks for international enterprises

03. Dealing with permanent establishment risk

Permanent establishment’ means a fixed place of business through which the business of an enterprise is wholly or partly carried on. When an enterprise has a permanent establishment in a location, it is liable to pay corporate income tax. In many cases, engaging a Global PEO means that the ‘fixed place of business’ is not established, meaning a corporate tax liability does not arise

04. Reduced expansion costs

Global expansion is often complex and time-consuming. Outsourcing to an experienced Global PEO saves you time and money – it saves some companies up to 85% of the cost of expansion

05. Competitive benefits for employees

With a critical mass of employees in your target country, a Global PEO can often provide more competitive benefits packages in your target country, than small-to-medium-sized enterprises would be able to

06. Data protection

As with employment compliance, data protection and security rules can differ significantly by country. A Global PEO ensures that all data regulations and laws (such as the EU’s GDPR) are complied with;

07. Managing ongoing costs of global hiring

Managing and forecasting the ongoing costs of global hiring can be difficult. For example, fluctuating exchange rates in different countries can make it difficult to forecast what upcoming costs will be. Through its cloud solution, Horizons provides the tools for businesses to better forecast and budget for these costs.

What is the process when you sign up with a Global PEO?

Once you sign up with a Global PEO like Horizons, the following steps will usually be taken:

01. Engagement
Horizons and the client agree to the terms of their ongoing engagement, including the specification that employees remain under the control and direction of the client
02. Employment facilitation

Horizons drafts the offer letter and employment contract for the client’s workforce in a new location

03. Administrative processes

Horizons check that all necessary visas, work permits, insurances and registrations are in place to begin operations in the target country

04. Monthly payroll

Horizons calculates all payments to employees, distributes wages, deals with employee expenses and keeps meticulous records of all transactions

05. Ongoing HR management

Horizons deals with any ongoing HR issues as they arise, such as employee performance issues, terminations and contract renewals.

How does a Global PEO reduce the costs of expansion?

Engaging a global PEO saves costs for your business in a variety of ways:

  • There is no need to set up a local legal entity (e.g., a subsidiary company) in the country of expansion. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
  • It frees up your time to focus on your core business objectives.
  • It provides savings on the ongoing cost of managing payroll and HR for overseas employees.
  • Cheaper benefits packages (e.g., health and dental insurance) via the Global PEO’s economy of scale.

Is a Global PEO suitable for small companies?

Yes. Engaging a Global PEO is often an excellent option for small businesses initiating a global hiring plan.

For small companies, setting up a local legal entity often won’t be cost-effective. In addition, a Global PEO has the recruitment, payroll, HR and compliance expertise to hire staff that small businesses may not be able to manage.

Is a Global PEO suitable for medium-sized businesses?

Yes. Global PEOs usually invoice client companies on a ‘per employee’ basis, meaning that this is also a cost-effective solution for medium-sized businesses.

Does a Global PEO make sense for a large company?

In many cases, yes. Engaging a Global PEO gives international enterprises the benefit of local expertise and compliance knowledge which is difficult to replicate, no matter what the size of the company. In addition, a Global PEO can benefit large enterprises by simplifying their international operations. One Global PEO can manage all overseas locations and send just one invoice per month to the client. This may be much more straightforward than operating separate legal entities in every overseas location. 

Once a business reaches a certain size in another country, or it needs a more substantial legal presence in that country, setting up a local legal entity may be sensible. Horizons can support businesses to switch their Global PEO to a local legal entity.

Is a Global PEO a good temporary expansion solution?

Setting up a legal entity overseas can be a time-consuming process. Engaging a Global PEO can be an extremely useful interim compliance solution while you go through the process of setting up a new company. Then once the company is read to operate, the Global PEO can switch those employees over to the new legal entity.

Can a Global PEO be used to hire a remote worker?

Yes. For example, you may find on an international talent search that your best candidate is based overseas, but is willing to work remotely. A Global PEO can hire that individual and become their ‘Employer of Record’ in that country. The candidate would still work under your direction and control on a day-to-day basis.

In other cases, you may have employees that are unexpectedly based overseas for an extended period of time. This may begin to pose a ‘permanent establishment’ risk for your company (meaning that your company becomes liable to pay corporate income tax in that location). This risk can be alleviated by hiring the remote worker in that country via a Global PEO.

Can I use a Global PEO to hire freelancers?

Yes. In some circumstances you may wish to bring overseas freelancers on board as employees, this can be achieved via a Global PEO. Even where you wish to maintain a purely contractual (rather than employment) relationship with freelancers based overseas, a Global PEO may be able to help with payment and contractor management for those freelancers.

Can a company reduce compliance risk by switching a contractor to a Global PEO?

Engaging contractors overseas can pose risks to your organization. In some cases, it can make you liable for ‘employee misclassification’ with the tax authorities. This can result in you paying significant back-taxes and penalties. In addition, an employment relationship can be essential to ensure that you have the necessary degree of control over the employee.

Engaging a Global PEO to onboard and employ this individual removes this significant compliance risk.

Can a Global PEO be used to convert a contractor based overseas into an employee?

Yes. Sometimes a successful relationship with an independent contractor means that you would like to turn them into an employee. This might occur where:

  • You wish to upgrade a ‘casual’ arrangement to one with fixed hours
  • You wish to incentivize an individual to keep working with you via employee benefits
  • A valuable contractor has requested it; or
  • You wish to take on the worker full-time.

The most cost-effective and compliant way of carrying out this conversion is to engage a Global PEO to hire employees in the target country. This way, you do not need to set up a separate legal entity in that country to employ the individual.

Alternatively, you may plan to register a company in the target country to employ an individual and seek to engage a Global PEO as an interim measure.