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The talent market is no longer confined by geographical boundaries. Staffing firms today are sourcing top-tier candidates increasingly from around the world, and Canadian staffing firms are no exception.

While this presents exciting opportunities, it also introduces a major set of complexities – compliance risks associated with hiring global workers.

From navigating tax regulations to securing work permits, one misstep can lead to financial penalties, reputational damage, and even legal trouble. It’s crucial to educate yourself now rather than regretting such mistakes later.

Let’s look at some of the most common compliance mistakes staffing firms make when interacting with an international talent pool.


International recruitment takes tax compliance to a whole new level, where things can get a bit tricky. Here are some common compliance mistakes Canadian firms can avoid:

  1. Misclassifying Workers: Classifying an employee as an independent contractor (IC) incorrectly, whether unintentionally or to avoid tax burdens, can lead to disputes over benefits, overtime pay, and employment rights. This can result in legal claims, damages, and both the firm and the candidate being liable for back taxes and penalties.
  2. Permanent Establishment: Operating a “permanent establishment” in another country, such as having a physical office or exceeding specific activity thresholds, can trigger tax filing obligations for your Canadian staffing firm.
  3. Double Taxation: Complicating cross-border arrangements can lead to double taxation for the candidate, where income is taxed in both their home and host countries. Additional tax burdens can arise from housing allowances or other employer-provided benefits.
  4. Mismanagement: Failing to meet tax filing requirements can lead to legal disputes, investigations, and fines from regulators. Directors and officers may also be held personally liable.

What Can You Do?

  • Seek Expert Advice: Consult with specialists in international employment law to optimize employment agreements and tax arrangements. Depending on your hiring needs, full-time counsel might be a wise investment.
  • Expertize in Payroll and Tax Reporting: Hiring payroll and tax professionals can help you with:
    • Setting up compliant payroll and tax reporting processes.
    • Determining the correct classification for international workers.
    • Developing separate strategies for remote workers and those physically traveling.
    • Tailoring protocols to address unique tax challenges in different jurisdictions.
    • Establishing clear contracts outlining rights, responsibilities, and legal obligations.
    • Regularly reviewing and updating agreements as laws evolve.
    • Ensuring payroll and accounting software adheres to all relevant requirements.
  • Directors & Officers (D&O) Insurance: Prevention is better than cure – so make sure you invest in D&O insurance. By doing so, you can protect your senior leadership from lawsuits arising from alleged wrongful acts in managing the company.


Work permits are essential for engaging foreign contractors legally. Navigating this process can be challenging due to:

  • Work Permit Types: Canada offers various work permits, each with specific requirements, like educational qualifications or a job offer from a Canadian employer. In some cases, a work permit might not be required altogether.
  • Conditions and Validity Periods: Work permits come with limitations and expiry dates. Ensure these remain valid throughout the assignment.
  • Non-Compliance Risks: Serious consequences can arise from hiring workers without proper permits or exceeding permitted stays. These include deportation, travel bans, legal penalties.

What Can You Do?

  • Pre-Placement Eligibility Assessment
    Before extending an offer, conduct a thorough assessment of the candidate’s eligibility for a work permit. This includes verifying their qualifications against the requirements for the specific work permit category.
  • Collaborative Documentation Gathering
    Work closely with the candidate to gather all necessary documentation for the work permit application. This may include educational transcripts, proof of work experience, job offer letters, and any relevant medical certificates.
  • Partnering with Immigration Experts
    Seek guidance from an immigration lawyer or consultant to ensure the application package is complete, accurate, and meets all eligibility requirements. This can significantly improve the approval rate and avoid delays.
  • Staying Current on Immigration Policy
    Canadian immigration policies and procedures are subject to change. Staying informed about these updates, through government websites or trusted immigration resources, ensures you’re filing applications under the most recent guidelines.
  • Implementing a Streamlined Recordkeeping System
    Develop a system for maintaining accurate and easily accessible records of each contractor’s work permits, visas, and other relevant documentation. This facilitates tracking expiry dates, and ensures timely renewals when necessary.
  • Establishing Clear Communication Protocols
    Maintain open communication with contractors regarding their work permit status. Inform them of their responsibilities related to the permits and any potential changes or renewal requirements.


Partnering with an offshoring company can help you navigate employment standards and administrative burdens when working with an international talent pool. Offshoring companies can act as intermediaries, handling tasks like payroll, taxes, and employment contracts.

However, it must be done right to ensure a smooth process. When partnering with an offshoring company, always choose the right partner. Opt for a reliable, reputed, and ethical offshoring company that is known for delivering quality services and excellent results. Don’t let ‘affordable’ get in way of quality.

What Can You Do?

To ensure a successful partnership, do your due diligence on potential offshoring companies:

  • Background Checks: Evaluate their certifications, licenses, and compliance track records. Verify their adherence to regulations in both home and host countries.
  • Reputation Matters: Look for testimonials, reviews, and client feedback to gauge professionalism, responsiveness, and service quality.
  • Operational Capabilities: Ensure they can accommodate your specific needs, handle varying contract lengths, and adapt to changing business demands.
  • Contract Scrutiny: Carefully review agreements between your firm, the offshoring company, and the independent contractors (ICs) to understand terms and conditions, including fees, termination clauses, and liability provisions.


The global recruitment landscape presents exciting opportunities, but navigating the complexities of international compliance can be daunting. Here at IMS People Possible, our 18+ years of experience in the offshore recruitment industry positions us perfectly to help Canadian staffing firms navigate these challenges with confidence.

Our team of experts can provide comprehensive support in all areas of international recruitment compliance, including Tax Law and Regulations, Contract Development, and Review. You don’t have to get into the details – we will do that for you.

Contact us today to learn more about our international recruitment solutions, and how we can help your firm thrive in the global marketplace.