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Breaking Boundaries: How you can Work Abroad and Invoice Clients from wherever

Last Updated
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
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As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking to make significant changes to their lifestyles and work patterns. A growing number of individuals are choosing to embrace a more nomadic way of life, either by moving abroad or simply by travelling more frequently for work. This trend is particularly prevalent among tech workers, who have been able to continue working remotely during the pandemic and for whom demand remains high. Many of these workers are choosing to move outside the UK, where the tech industry is particularly robust.

However, moving to a new country can be difficult, especially for freelancers who may face  many challenges. One of which is the issue of visas and compliance with local regulations. In many cases, freelancers may need to obtain a work visa to continue working in their chosen country. This can be a time-consuming and often costly process, and it may require the assistance of an immigration lawyer. In addition to visas, freelancers also need to consider compliance with local tax regulations. This can be particularly complex for freelancers who wish to continue working with clients based in the UK while also invoicing new clients based in their new country or elsewhere in the world. 

In this article, we will consider the challenges and opportunities that come with moving abroad as a freelancer and take a look at how many of the challenges can be solved by working with a management company.


The Benefits of working abroad


Working abroad as a freelancer can offer many benefits, both personal and professional. Let’s go over just a few of them: 

Living and working in a new culture:

  • Allows individuals to immerse themselves in a different way of life
  • Provides the opportunity to learn more about the world

Potential for personal and professional growth:

  • Exposure to new challenges and opportunities can help develop skills and experience
  • This can lead to career advancement and increased earning potential

Improved quality of life:

  • Countries with a lower cost of living and favourable tax rates can provide a higher standard of living
  • Local culture and amenities, such as beaches, cities, and outdoor activities, can be enjoyed

Access to a new market and new clients:

  • Increases earning potential by opening up new opportunities for projects and clients
  • Potential for networking with other professionals and forming new collaborations and partnerships

Overall, the benefits of working abroad as a freelancer are numerous and can lead to a more fulfilling and rewarding career. From personal growth and a better quality of life to increased earning potential and the chance to network with other professionals, working from another country can provide many exciting opportunities for freelancers.


The Challenges of working abroad


While working abroad as a freelancer can be an exciting prospect, it can also come with a number of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with the tricky administrative requirements that vary depending on the country. For example, if you spend only half the year in Spain or Portugal, you may face tax issues if you work for a UK-based company without legalising your presence in Spain. This highlights the importance of becoming a resident of your host country at some point to avoid these issues.

Another challenge is understanding whether or not you should open a company in your host country, and if so, what type of company and under which status. This can be a complex decision, and it may require the help of a local lawyer or accountant to navigate the various options and requirements. Obtaining visas and work permits can also be difficult. Depending on the country, there may be specific requirements for setting up a sole trader business or limited company, and it can be difficult to understand and comply with these requirements if you are not familiar with the local laws and regulations.

Freelancers working abroad must also adapt to a new business culture and market. This can be difficult, as business practices and expectations may be different in other countries. It is important to do your research and understand the local business environment to succeed as a freelancer in a foreign country.

These challenges that are specific to freelancers come on top of the regular challenges anyone moving to a new country will face. Some of those challenges include:

  • Language barriers: If the person is moving to a country where they don’t speak the language fluently, communication can be a challenge.
  • Finding a place to live: It can be difficult to find a place to live in a new country, especially if the person is unfamiliar with the local housing market and doesn’t have a network of contacts.
  • Dealing with homesickness: It’s natural to feel homesick when moving to a new place, and this can be especially difficult if the person is far away from family and friends.
  • Managing finances: It can be a challenge to manage finances in a new country, especially if the person is not familiar with the local currency and banking system.
  • Navigating bureaucracy: It can be difficult to navigate the bureaucracy of a new country, especially if the person is not familiar with local laws and regulations.
  • Dealing with culture shock: Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation and discomfort that can occur when living in a new culture. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including differences in language, customs, and social norms.

A real-life example of the challenges a freelancer can face

There’s no better way to understand the challenges freelancers face when moving abroad than walking in their shoes for a while. That’s why we’ve collected a testimonial from one of our clients. who moved to Spain in early 2022. Everything did not go as planned for him.

Robert, a 32-year-old UK IT consultant, had been working as a freelancer for 5 years and had a very successful business with clients based in the UK. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, he started considering moving abroad as he lived in London at the time but was working fully remotely. He ultimately decided to relocate to Spain at the beginning of 2022 without thoroughly preparing for the move. Upon arriving in Spain, he realised that he would not be able to continue working with his UK business and clients without facing issues with Spanish taxes and regulations since the UK is now outside of the EU.

He also found it difficult to rent a flat without a local working contract and without being officially registered as a taxpayer in Spain, and he learned that as a freelancer in Spain, he would not be eligible for the Beckham Law which allows foreign workers in Spain with a full-time Spanish work contract to pay only a 24% tax for 5 years. Fortunately for him, Robert discovered Hightekers during an event in Barcelona. He soon understood that joining our network will solve all these issues as it would provide him with a visa and work permit as well as a full-time local work contract. By joining Hightekers, he can now take advantage of the special tax regime for the next 5 years and rent a flat without worry. This made his life simpler, and he now has more time to enjoy Spain.


How to solve the issues that arise when working abroad


As we’ve seen, there are many challenges to being a freelancer working abroad. But each challenge has a solution. Let’s go over a few.

One option is to spend only part of the year in a foreign country. But this can be impractical and in countries like Spain or Portugal, this can lead to tax problems if you exceed 181 days in the country while getting revenue from UK clients and working as a UK independent contractor.

Another option is to apply for a digital nomad visa, which allows individuals to work remotely and live in a foreign country for an extended period. Freelancer visas are also available for individuals who are looking to work in a foreign country temporarily. The specific requirements and application process for these visas can vary depending on the country. Some countries that have been known to offer digital nomad or freelancer visas include Spain, Portugal, Barbados, Bermuda, Costa Rica, and Estonia.

For a more long-term solution, a working visa and a residence permit may be a better option. This type of visa allows individuals to work in a foreign country for an extended period. It is important to research the specific visa and residence permit requirements of the country where you plan to reside. You may also need to provide evidence of your professional qualifications and experience and meet other requirements to be eligible for a work or residence permit.

One thing that can help with all the challenges linked to moving abroad as a freelancer is to work with an umbrella company that has offices across Europe. 

Working with a Management Company

A management company like Hightekers can provide you with a local work contract, which can help with registration and business setup, as well as tax compliance and access to flat taxes for foreigners. The management company can also help with contracts, invoicing, and other legal and financial matters, and can provide access to insurance and other benefits.

Working with this sort of company can also help with language barriers, as they can handle administrative tasks in the local language on your behalf. This can be especially useful if you do not speak the local language fluently, as it can make it easier to communicate with clients and business partners.

You will also be able to continue to work with UK and other international clients, invoicing in different currencies such as the British pound and Euro. This can be a convenient and cost-effective solution, as you are paid by the management company in the local currency and avoid the hassle of dealing with complex exchange rates and foreign transaction fees.

Overall, working with a management company can be a faster and more efficient way to get started as a freelancer in a foreign country, allowing you to focus on growing your business and building relationships with clients without worrying about the administrative and legal challenges of working abroad.


Key takeaways for UK freelancers looking to work from abroad


Working abroad as a freelancer can be a rewarding and exciting experience, but it can also come with a number of challenges, such as tricky administrative requirements, language barriers, and difficulties with visas and work permits. However, these challenges can be overcome by obtaining the right visa, working with a management company like Hightekers

Hightekers is a management company that can help you navigate these challenges and succeed as a freelancer abroad. Hightekers offers local work contracts in over 10 countries, allowing UK contractors to invoice UK companies from anywhere whilst remaining compliant with local requirements. In addition to handling registration, business setup, tax compliance, and other administrative tasks, Hightekers also offers a network of IT and engineering consultants who can provide valuable support and advice. By working with Hightekers, you can focus on growing your business and building relationships with clients, without worrying about the challenges of working abroad.

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