Why Do Some Remote Jobs Have Location Requirements?

Remote job location restrictions.
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You may often find yourself discovering the PERFECT remote job. 

But then you quickly realize that there are location requirements (State, country, or region) attached to it that you don’t meet.

Ugh! You then wonder what gives, considering this is a “remote” role. You should be able to work from anywhere… 

While I agree that restricting locations isn’t always ideal, there are legit reasons why companies might limit employees to specific locations.

5 Reasons Remote Jobs Have Location Restrictions

I know, it might be annoying to see restrictions on remote jobs. But keep in mind there are plenty others that will be United States or open to global candidates. And as remote work continues to be popular, things will get easy for employers to manage. 

Here’s a few common reasons for location requirements or restrictions. 

1. Legal and Taxes

The big hurdle for many companies to hire anywhere in the world is legal and tax ramifications. Every country has their own rules, regulations, and tax codes. 

And navigating these can be very difficult for companies unfamiliar with the laws and can be major headaches if not followed correctly.

Even locally in the United States, it can be a hassle if employees live in different states. The employer becomes subject to the specific tax laws of that State, city, and county.

I found a handful of remote jobs when I was searching before my current role that I couldn’t apply to because my State was not in the location requirements. 

It’s frustrating as it’s not THAT difficult to handle, but I also understand it from the employer’s perspective that they just rather not deal with it at this time. 

2. Time Zones

One common reason for location restrictions is time zones. 

Whether it’s because the company is based in one area, where most employees are located, or the bulk of customers are located in specific regions. 

Most organizations want to have overlap where everyone has a chance to communicate and work together virtually. 

For larger companies, it’s a bit easier to coordinate overlap as there will be more employees spread out in similar time zones.  Where in smaller companies, you might find clusters or siloes to regions where an outsider might have a tougher time connecting with the team. 

You could offer the employer that you’ll be flexible with your work schedule if time zone is an issue and you really like this specific remote job. Maybe you can start your work day earlier or later, instead of working a traditional 9-5 where you are located. 

There are plenty of companies that are cool with that, as long as you are getting your 8 hour workdays in. But others would prefer you have the same hours as other remote employees or when in-office workers are available if the company is hybrid. 

3. Labor Laws

I don’t pretend to understand international labor laws or what is set up. 

But in the United States, each state also varies in their law relating to benefits, termination, time off, hours, and minimum wage. 

Companies generally will already understand and follow the regulations of where the homebase is for them. But a distributed team across various States means being an expert in each of the labor laws. 

Of course the larger human resource teams would be able to handle that capacity and knowledge. However smaller or medium tech companies might want to avoid that. So they’ll stick to states that are very similar to laws they already know or where they are based, 

4. Payroll and Wages

Just like with taxes or labor laws, handling payroll and wages can be tricky to navigate when employees are scattered around the world. 

In the United States, each state has their own tax rates and local income taxes that need to be accounted for in paychecks. And if you live in a different country, it’s a completely different currency that needs to be converted. And yes, there is a cost to that too!

Beyond that, figuring out and managing all the different pay structures, taxes, and currency conversions can be a headache for employers. 

Luckily, there is some technology now that makes this a bit easier. But more on that after these common reasons for remote job location restrictions. 

5. Travel

So there are two sides to travel being a reason for remote jobs to have a location restriction. 

The first is company retreats or in-person meetups. Often remote companies like to meet in-person on some cadence. This could be quarterly, twice a year, etc. 

Organizations will cover the travel cost and accommodations, but it can get super expensive when you have employees all around the world. Plus, the travel coordination can get cumbersome. 

The other reason is if the job entails traveling frequently. Think about sales, customer-facing meetings, or for specific events and conferences. 

In this case, the employer might want employees located near or in the region they’ll be traveling often. Helps cutdown costs and the hours of traveling someone would need to do. 

Today, most of these above challenges are not as big of a deal as they were early on with remote work. 

And if you know about companies like 37Signals, Automattic, and Buffer, they’ve been remote-first long before flexible working became more normal. 

But it is still an employer’s prerogative to set remote job location restrictions. 

Hiring Anywhere in the World Is Getting Easier

The good news is that location restriction remote jobs are less of a challenge to solve today, thanks to employer of record software

These software solutions allow companies to manage hiring, global payroll, taxes, work permits & visas, and more through one platform. So whether they are hiring full-time employees or contractors, it’s a simple way to get organized.

Some of the top platforms in this space include (Most are very similar, but vary slightly in price and features):

This doesn’t mean all companies hiring remotely still won’t have restrictions. And not all will want to utilize software to hire and manage employees around the world. 

But, these tools do allow for more options to employers than ever before. 

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Final Thoughts

Hopefully this article gives you a stronger understanding of why there are location restrictions on many remote jobs.

While there is technology that helps companies open up to be worldwide, many prefer to still keep it to certain States, countries, or regions. 

One thought you might have is to lie about your location and use a VPN to mask where you are working. You may get away with it for a bit, but ultimately they may find out and fire you. 

Instead, be honest in the job screening if a location restriction is mentioned to you. It’s possible you could even negotiate the location, as some employers might be open to it. 

But if you are looking for remote jobs without restrictions, here’s some quick tips:

  • Focus on remote-first organizations. Many do allow work from anywhere already. And those that don’t currently, will be more inclined to embrace it as they have strong views about the power of remote work. 
  • Look for terms like “Global” or “Work from Anywhere” in your searches or job listings. Usually there will be no location limits on these. 
  • Always ask when you get an initial interview screening. Some job listings don’t include any restrictions, but there could be. Make sure to ask upfront so you don’t end up down the interview pipeline only to find out you need to drop out or relocate. 

Looking for a new remote job? Come check out the Remote Work Junkie job board where vet the remote jobs before they get listed. Find your new role today! 

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About Todd Kunsman

Todd is the founder of Remote Work Junkie and has been featured in numerous publications like Business Insider, HuffPost, CNBC, and more. He’s been a remote work advocate for close to a decade and has been working remotely full-time for 5+ years. He’s also a marketing, personal finance, and music nerd 🤓

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