Author Topic: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?  (Read 3582 times)

Vilx-

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Is it a feasible idea that I could work remotely for a US employer and get paid US wages? I'm a computer programmer, and people consider me to be fairly good. From half-glimpsed conversations I gather that a fair wage in US for an experienced programmer is $100,000/year? Is this something US employers would consider? (I've no idea about the legal side of all this - perhaps it's too complicated to be feasible)

I don't want to freelance, because the freelancing market seems to be pretty saturated with cheap programmers already. If I had to compete with them, then my current job would be better, I think (at least, the 2 freelancers I know of around here gave up on it and just got themselves a regular job).

nereo

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 05:20:34 AM »
if you are a US citizen living in Latvia, or if you have a US work permit, then yes, it is fairly easy to work in another country by a US company and get paid US wages.  Basically they hire you just as they would any other employee.  All you need to do is find a company that's willing to hire you and let you telecommute

IF you lack the citizenship or work permit than no company in the United States can legally hire you.  I'm sure there are some that will skirt the law, but all wages paid by a company need to be reported to the IRS for tax purposes. 

phred

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2014, 07:43:15 AM »
I think your best bet would be to visit the Latvian offices of any American companies over there and talk to them.

Vilx-

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2014, 07:47:57 AM »
IF you lack the citizenship or work permit than no company in the United States can legally hire you.  I'm sure there are some that will skirt the law, but all wages paid by a company need to be reported to the IRS for tax purposes.
Ahh, that's it then. I don't have any of those things mentioned above, so I guess they cannot hire me.

I suppose I could work around this by creating a 1-man company and then selling my services to them as a company? But I guess that would get ridiculously complicated then. OK, well, it was just an idea.

I think your best bet would be to visit the Latvian offices of any American companies over there and talk to them.
They would just pay Latvian-sized wages. Why would they do anything else?

phred

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2014, 08:24:17 AM »
because if you show them you really know what you're doing, the main office may hire you to tele-commute and pay better

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 09:31:57 PM »
IF you lack the citizenship or work permit than no company in the United States can legally hire you.  I'm sure there are some that will skirt the law, but all wages paid by a company need to be reported to the IRS for tax purposes.
Ahh, that's it then. I don't have any of those things mentioned above, so I guess they cannot hire me.

I suppose I could work around this by creating a 1-man company and then selling my services to them as a company? But I guess that would get ridiculously complicated then. OK, well, it was just an idea.
If you do NOT live in the United States, the work permit is absolutely NOT required. You will be treated as an outside contractor, and they will figure out a way to get a paycheck to you. How you declare that income and pay taxes in your home country is completely up to you.

iamlindoro

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2014, 10:55:20 PM »
IF you lack the citizenship or work permit than no company in the United States can legally hire you.  I'm sure there are some that will skirt the law, but all wages paid by a company need to be reported to the IRS for tax purposes.
Ahh, that's it then. I don't have any of those things mentioned above, so I guess they cannot hire me.

I suppose I could work around this by creating a 1-man company and then selling my services to them as a company? But I guess that would get ridiculously complicated then. OK, well, it was just an idea.
If you do NOT live in the United States, the work permit is absolutely NOT required. You will be treated as an outside contractor, and they will figure out a way to get a paycheck to you. How you declare that income and pay taxes in your home country is completely up to you.

That said, American companies offshore to make it cheaper, not to pay the same rates.  Though I work as a developer, and make over 100K a year, realistically the average software developer in the US doesn't make over 100K.  It's common in places like Silicon Valley, parts of the northwest, and New York City, and in small pockets elsewhere, but the vast majority of developers in the US still make far under 100K a year.  In those places where 100K a year is commonplace, there is enough supply to more or less keep up with the demand without the need to pay the same rates to an offshore dev.

I'm an independent contractor (part of the reason that I'm able to piece together a high income) and in one of the areas mentioned above (another part).  The company I currently work with offshores to a few eastern european countries, but does so to save money.  There's no incentive to do so and also pay local wages.

markbrynn

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 03:29:57 AM »
You do live in a member state of the EU, so you have the right to live and work anywhere in the EU. As far as I know, you can make more money in Western Europe than in Latvia for similar jobs, so I would try that first. Visa issues will be a major problem for you in the US, but are not an issue in UK, Germany, Netherlands, etc. where there must be a reasonable demand for programmers (don't know, not my field).

It's also much easier for you to travel across Europe and meet with people, work temporarily in an office, etc. and then set up telecommuting options.

Maybe you've already thought of this and/or tried this, but just in case.

nereo

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2014, 06:22:31 AM »
IF you lack the citizenship or work permit than no company in the United States can legally hire you.  I'm sure there are some that will skirt the law, but all wages paid by a company need to be reported to the IRS for tax purposes.
Ahh, that's it then. I don't have any of those things mentioned above, so I guess they cannot hire me.

I suppose I could work around this by creating a 1-man company and then selling my services to them as a company? But I guess that would get ridiculously complicated then. OK, well, it was just an idea.
If you do NOT live in the United States, the work permit is absolutely NOT required. You will be treated as an outside contractor, and they will figure out a way to get a paycheck to you. How you declare that income and pay taxes in your home country is completely up to you.
Not quite!  The OP asked if he could work for a US company and get paid US wages.  You cannot be legally hired as an employee without a work permit or citizenship.  Period.  As you mentioned all they can do is hire him/her as an outside, international contractor but then he/she is beholden to his/her own countries laws, tax filings, etc.  The OP will also will recieve no worker protection (e.g. minimum wage or hourly standards, OSHA and workman's comp, etc) from the United States.  This is the reason so many US companies use foreign labor - because they don't need to adhere to US standards.
He/she will be employed as a Latvian and (as he/she said) will most likely be paid Latvian wages for the job.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 06:24:25 AM by nereo »

arebelspy

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2014, 07:18:49 AM »
IF you lack the citizenship or work permit than no company in the United States can legally hire you.  I'm sure there are some that will skirt the law, but all wages paid by a company need to be reported to the IRS for tax purposes.
Ahh, that's it then. I don't have any of those things mentioned above, so I guess they cannot hire me.

It's not that they cannot, but why would they?

Unless you have a proven track-record that they'd be interested in.  They're going to be looking overseas so they can save money, how would it make sense for them to pay you American wages (despite the fact that just based on the quality of your work, you might deserve it)?

The key, I think, is offering value.

If you did start a (one man) consulting company, why should they hire you?  If you can show them it's beneficial for them, and you bring more value to the table than you cost, you've got a lot better chance.

It's all about what you can negotiate, and you need to bring some value to the table to have any leverage.
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Paul der Krake

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Re: Is it possible to live in Latvia yet work in USA (for USA wages)?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2014, 07:20:41 AM »
@nereo: right, if you are talking about getting an board as a regular W-2 employee who pays SS and medicare taxes, then sure, you're right.

However negociating his salary is completely up for negociation and has nothing to do with the immigration laws of the United States, because by working from abroad he is simply not subject to them.

As to workers protections, meh. Anyone worth their salt in development isn't going to stay unemployed very long.