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What is Shield GEO?

Shield GEO provides Employer of Record solutions in more than 90 countries around the world, ensuring legal compliance and rapid deployment of staff into any market for our corporate clients. We make international employment simple.

 

 

What are the core services provided by Shield GEO?

Our core services are to employ international workers on behalf of our clients. This means we take on the responsibility for payroll, tax, immigration and employment compliance. Often this is for companies that do not have an incorporated entity in a foreign country. We offer dedicated, end to end service that covers every element of employing staff into the host country, greatly reducing the risk and workload for our clients.

What is a GEO?

A Global Employment Organization (GEO) is an intermediary between the client and their international assignees, that acts as the employer of record in the host country and handles every aspect of the legal and administrative requirements of employment in that location. Also known as Global Employment Outsourcing this service allows companies to employ staff in overseas locations quickly, simply and cost effectively.

Why use a GEO?

A GEO is a cost effective and secure method of quickly employing staff into new or existing international markets, saving the time and expense of incorporating a local entity.  The number one concern for companies with active global mobility programs is compliance with employment and tax regulations. A GEO is already established in the host country and takes on the responsibility of making sure all legal, employment, tax and immigration requirements are met.

What are the advantages of using a GEO?

The main advantages of using a GEO is that it makes international employment simple.  Our customers attest that having Shield GEO handle the administration and compliance of their overseas staff, with a single point of contact and consistent service across all locations, has been transformative. It has become much easier to meet the expansion objectives of their business stakeholders.

The other benefits include:

  • Cost savings
  • Speed of deployment
  • Full compliance with immigration and labor laws
  • Flexible payroll approaches
  • Assistance with both onboarding and repatriation of assignees

GEO vs DIY (do it yourself)?

Companies that elect a DIY approach face the daunting task of navigating complex local laws and regulations, including the need to set up a local corporate entity.  Unless the HR department has broad expertise and legal resources to meet this challenge, there is an ongoing risk of non-compliance in the host country.

By using a GEO solution, a company can minimize the risk of non-compliance, and rely on the GEO’s expertise to initiate or expand business activity in any foreign market.  Because the local entity is already in place, there is no delay in employing staff in the host country.

What are the cost savings in using a GEO?

The cost savings in using a GEO occur at every stage including:

  • No need to set up, register and meet capital requirements for a local corporate entity – our employer of record is already in place
  • No requirement to engage the full suite of host country advisors : tax advisors, employment lawyers, immigration specialists, payroll providers, incorporation advisors, etc.
  • Streamlined payroll processes for all employees in the country
  • Minimizing the potential for permanent establishment and corporate taxation
  • Compliance with tax and statutory withholding, avoiding potential penalties and fines
  • The ability to easily employ independent contractors and avoid any misclassification penalties and back taxes
  • Rapid deployment of staff through the immigration and employment stages to allow immediate business activity to begin

What is the difference between a GEO and a PEO?

A PEO or Professional Employment Organization differs from a GEO in several ways.  The PEO is typically a co-employer with the client, while a GEO acts as the sole employer of record.  The PEO can assist with some registration and insurance requirements, but the GEO provides a more complete employment solution for clients.  PEOs are frequently used within the US to handle multistate payroll issues, while a GEO can function across international borders for ease of payroll and employment compliance.

What countries does Shield GEO operate in?

Shield GEO provides employment solutions in more than 90 countries, most of which you can find on our website. If there is a particular country you’re looking at that is not listed on the website, please get in touch.

Is there a minimum or maximum period we can engage Shield as a GEO?

Shield GEO’s Employer of Record solution is very flexible in terms of duration. We have clients who have used us for 3 months whilst their local entities were being established. And other clients who have been with us over 5 years. There may be restrictions on minimum or maximum duration in a particular country or situation, especially if work permit sponsorship is involved. We’ll make this very clear to you up front.

Who manages the employees?

Although staff are legally employed through Shield GEO, day to day management of employee work hours, methods and projects is still handled by the client.

Who is responsible for the employees?

The client maintains primary responsibility for the employee’s activity and conduct in the host country, however as the Employer of Record, Shield GEO is directly responsible to the authorities for the employment. Especially as concerns immigration, tax or labor issues related to the employment. We’ll work with you to make sure that you and the employee understand any unique statutory requirements of the host country such as working hours restrictions, annual leave entitlements and so on.

Who is the employer?

Shield GEO through its partners acts as local employer of record in the host country.

Are they employed on local employment contracts?

In almost all instances a local employment contract is required to comply with host country labor and employment laws. We will work with you to draft an employment agreement that meets the host country regulations and also incorporates, where possible, any additional terms you may wish to include. For example your corporate policies on confidentiality or annual leave policies. The general rule is that local regulations will take precedence, but if your corporate or home policy is more generous than the local requirement we can include it in the employment agreement.

If necessary we can supplement this local employment contract with other supporting contracts such as a home employment contract, a letter of assignment or an Employer of Record agreement to cover any additional terms. This is particularly relevant where you wish to incorporate terms into the employment which aren’t recognized under the local employment contract like stock options or non-competition clauses.

Is there a minimum number of employees to use a GEO service?

There is no minimum. We’re happy to help you with a single employee.

How are taxes and social security contributions paid?

Employer and employee taxes are handled according to the host country requirements. These will be clearly outlined in your initial quote along with an explanation of how they are calculated in each host country. Each month we’ll invoice you, in advance of the payroll date, for what we call the Total Cost of Employment. Total Cost of Employment is the gross salary, bonus payment or allowances to the employee, employer contributions like tax or social security, expense reimbursements and our monthly management fee.

Employer taxes (e.g. payroll taxes) and social security contributions are shown as itemized inputs on the monthly invoice and included in our client reporting. When we run our monthly payroll process these amounts are paid to the local authorities as required.

Employee individual income tax and social security are deducted (withheld) from the gross salary in the monthly payroll process and then paid to the local authorities as required. These deductions are reported on the employee payslips and their summary reports.

There are some notable exceptions like France and Hong Kong where the employee is liable for their own tax submissions. We still assist the employees with calculating their taxes and submitting their returns in these locations.

Who pays the taxes?

Shield GEO handles payment of income taxes and employer taxes to the host country tax authorities as part of the payroll process.

There are some notable exceptions like France and Hong Kong where the employee is liable for their own tax submissions. We still assist the employees with calculating their taxes and submitting their returns in these locations.

Who pays the employee?

Shield GEO, as the Employer of Record, will pay the employee their net salary through the local payroll.

Can you support shadow / dual / split payrolls?

Yes, as long as local payroll and statutory withholding rules are met.

Who calculates payroll?

Shield GEO calculates the payroll in advance of each payment date and invoices you for the “Total Cost of Employment”. Total Cost of Employment is the gross salary, bonus payment or allowances to the employee, employer contributions like tax or social security, expense reimbursements and our monthly management fee.

The Shield GEO payroll invoice will show all these amounts as separate itemized inputs. This is also supported by our payslips and monthly reports.

Do you support different currencies when processing payroll and invoicing? If so, what method do you use to calculate the exchange rates?

 Yes we can invoice our clients and accept payment in 12 currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CHF, HKD, AUD, JPY, NZD, THB, ZAR, CNY). In most instances we have to payroll the employee in the local currency of the country. But our clients understandably wish to be invoiced in their home currency or a “major currency” like USD or EUR.

Our standard approach is to calculate the salary and employer inputs in the host currency and then convert it into the desired currency at the published rate on www.oanda.com site +/2% for foreign exchange variance. This is to take into account any fluctuation between the day we raise the invoice and the day we receive funds from our customer. We can reconcile any shortfalls on the following months invoice.

Can you sponsor work permits?

Yes.  The GEO as a valid, legal entity can sponsor work permits for employees on assignment.

Can you arrange the work permit but we continue to employ the person directly?

In order to obtain a work permit from immigration, the GEO employer of record must directly employ and payroll the employee inside the host country.

Do you help with business visas?

Business visas for use outside the host country: As the Employer of Record in the host country we are often required to support GEO employees in business visa applications for travel outside the host country. We are happy to provide whatever support is required although it may incur an additional fee.

Business visas for use inside the host country: A GEO employment solution eliminates the need to obtain short term business visas since all employees will be isssued valid work permits.  This avoids any complications with immigration authorities around the overuse of business visas for multiple stays in the country.

In some countries we can dramatically reduce visa processing times and expense by using a business visa for the employee to enter the country and then lodge their work permit application. Sometimes it is even possible for the employee to start work in the host country from the moment their work permit application is lodged. If these options are available we will inform our client during our initial assessment.

Do you offer a benefits package?

Non-statutory benefits are provided by the client as part of the employee’s compensation package.  Statutory benefits in the host country such as insurance or social security are provided as part of the payroll withholding process.

Are they covered under Shield’s Insurance?

The employee will be covered under our Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance as well as any other employment related insurances required by the laws of the host country like workers compensation or medical insurance

Can you provide local Medical Insurance?

Yes we can assist clients in providing their employees with  a full range of private medical insurance including health cover, accident and injury, medical repatriation and family cover.

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