Non-U.S. Citizens Working Abroad

Updated June 23, 2021

Roles and Responsibilities

Employees who will work remotely are responsible for:

  • Working with unit staff to ensure compliance with the remote work agreement, applicable laws, policies and procedures.
  • Making any necessary adjustments for their personal information, income taxes and benefits.

Unit staff is responsible for ensuring compliance with remote work agreement expectations, applicable laws, policies and procedures.

Employment outside of the United States or from a U.S. Territory requires review, consultation, and may require permission from OGC, Tax, and Export Controls before extending an offer/approving an arrangement. Contact your Unit HR representative to coordinate central office consultation.

Remote work agreements may involve increased costs to departments.

For “non-United States workers,” e.g., employees in H-1B, TN, E-3 or J-1 status, call the International Center at (734)-764-9310 to discuss immigration compliance.

Employment Law

When employees are working outside of the U.S. or from a U.S. Territory as their regular location of employment there may be times when we are required to follow local employment laws. For legal advice regarding compliance with out-of country work requirements, the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) may be able to retain outside counsel at the unit's expense. Units must work with OGC to retain outside counsel.

Offer/Appointment Letter

Offer letters must specify that payments to employees will be issued in U.S. dollars. Requests to have payments converted through wire transfer as foreign currency are handled separately through the wire transfer process.

  • Offer letters may need to contain notification language regarding export control
  • Unit staff must work with the Shared Services Center for special processing

Address Changes

Review your "Current Local" address and edit if needed. To update your current address, go through Wolverine Access, and select Employee Self Service > Campus Personal Information > Addresses > Current Local.  

Update your address with TIAA and Fidelity Investments if you participate in any U-M retirement plans.   

Benefits

Provider networks are the primary consideration with respect to off campus benefit enrollment. Employees should select a health plan that will provide them with the desired level of coverage and provider network flexibility in their area.

Call the SSC Contact Center at (734) 615-2000 or send an email to sharedservices@umich.edu with specific questions.

Personal Tax Liability

Please know that employees working in foreign countries may need to pay and file taxes to that country's tax agency based on its tax laws or, if applicable, its treaty with the US. Further, based on the circumstances, U-M may need to withhold and pay these taxes to the appropriate agency on behalf of its employees. In which case, the school, college or unit (SCU) may need to hire a professional employer organization (PEO) with the assistance of Procurement to manage these tax withholdings. The Payroll Office does not have the resources to manage international employment tax responsibilities.  

Employees who are not U.S. citizens or are resident aliens of the United States must submit an Alien Certificate. Nonresident aliens, unlike U.S. citizens and resident aliens, are only subject to tax on income that is considered U.S. Source Income by the IRS. The university is not obligated to withhold income or FICA taxes or report income to the IRS for a foreign national who will be performing all services outside of the U.S.

For guidance on determining U.S. Source or Foreign Source income, contact the Tax Department.

Direct Deposit/Wire Transfer

If the employee cannot update Direct Deposit Information online, the Direct Deposit Authorization Form should be faxed or mailed to the Payroll office.

If the employee does not have a U.S. bank account, request a wire transfer

The department may need to submit the request for each payment. There may be a fee associated with each wire transfer.

Travel and/or Moving Expenses

Whenever staff members make a request but are not required to work from a non-University site, unless otherwise agreed the employee is responsible for all expenses related to remote work, including but not limited to commuting, travel and/or moving expenses. Staff should expect any reimbursement provided to be subject to personal income tax.

Whenever staff members are required to establish a temporary residence at a remote work location for extended periods of time, they may be eligible for remote location compensation and/or reimbursement for transportation costs incurred.

International Travel

The University International Travel Policy applies to all faculty, staff and students traveling outside of the U.S. for university-related purposes.

Unemployment

Not eligible for unemployment from the State of Michigan or United States.

Worker's Compensation and Liability

Consult Risk Management regarding coverage for potential losses or liability. U-M must comply with the laws of the country in which the employee works. Contact Risk Management for support with managing those cases.

University Standard Practice Guide Applicability

The Standard Practice Guide (SPG) is a compendium of the university's general operating policies and procedures. The policies that are contained in the SPG are approved by university leadership and typically apply to the entire institution. Please consult with the Office of General Counsel to ensure compliance with local employment law.