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I am wondering about the legal details of a work situation. I would work remotely for a company that's not in the country I reside. That would mean the following situation:

  • I am a citizen of country A
  • I am a resident in country B
  • I am an employee of a company based in country C

I am specifically wondering about whether it is legal to be an employee of a company based in this country C (and receive income in this country in the currency of this country) without being a resident and without any visa.

What authority in this country may I contact to know whether this is allowed? Immigration services (even though I would not be a resident)? Tax services (I assume I would pay taxes there anyway)? some other labour authority?

My current knowledge is that countries usually allow residence and work if the person holds a specific visa, but in that case I am not a resident of that country, hence my question.

In short: does being an employee of a company based in a country C require any particular autorization? And which authority would be in charge?

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The main sticking point is country B. Country A doesn't care where their citizens go, and country C is not really involved.

If you have the right of abode and/or the right to work in country B, then it's not a problem.

If you need to get visas to remain in country B, then you will need to factor that in as part of the deal - that is to say that there will be a cost associated with getting visas, and there will be time necessary every 1-6 months (depending on the country) to leave the country and apply for a visa, allowing for the fact that it might not be granted, if they deem that you are actually doing more than just being a tourist.

And then there's the issue with tax. Where would you pay tax? If you stay in country B for more than 182 days, then legally you should pay tax there. Except that if you don't have a work permit then you generally can't.

There are many people who do this in Thailand (where I live), even though it's technically illegal because they see it as working in Thailand, even if you're not employed by a company in Thailand. (And you can argue that you're not, but they make the rules.) Every now and again, immigration have one of their many crackdowns and fine/deport these 'digital nomads' just to discourage other people from doing it.

Basically, the hard part is finding a country B that doesn't mind people entering long-term and working remotely within their borders, without paying any income tax to them.

Being caught working in country B without a work permit will at least lead to deportation, and possibly a hefty fine. Again, it depends which country you pick.

  • Yup I didn't write too much about it to avoid distraction but I would hold a visa to reside in country B. And I assume that depending on countries A, B, C I might have to file taxes and pay taxes in each of these countries. As you mentioned there are precise rules to determine where and how much tax you pay. I'd be interested in the situation regarding the country where the money comes from. If you are willing to share your experience, do you work for a company abroad? Or are you self-employed, is it in a country where you are allowed to work? – Vince Aug 15 at 10:19
  • I am from the UK and I work for a large Thai company here in Bangkok. So I have the work permit and the company files all my taxes here – Scott Earle Aug 15 at 11:23

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