International Employment

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In order to uphold the University of Arizona's strategic plan to set the standard for a global university in the digital age and engage communities around the world, the University recognizes that units may need to hire employees who will live and work outside of the United States. Due to the complexity of international employment, requests for international work arrangements require leadership approval and must meet the institutional guidelines on this page. 

For more information about work arrangements outside of Arizona but in the United States, please visit our Out-of-State Domestic Work Arrangements page


International Employment Guidelines Eligibility

International employment refers to employees whose duty post (e.g. the physical location they are working from) is outside the United States and who rarely visit the University’s campuses in Arizona, or its extension locations, to perform their duties while stationed at that duty post. 

International employment does not refer to an employee who periodically travels on university business but continues to reside and conduct the majority of their work in the United States. These employees remain subject to the University's International Travel Policy

Please note that taking a sabbatical, vacation or other approved leave internationally does not constitute a change in work location.

Student Workers & Graduate Assistants

Human Resources does not manage student worker recruitment and hiring decisions. Though these arrangements are not subject to Human Resources' policies, they are subject to University general policies and could be subject to the laws of the country in which the student would be working. 

Questions regarding international work arrangements should be directed to the student’s hiring unit.

Graduate assistant, graduate teaching assistant, and graduate research assistant recruitment and hiring decisions are managed by the hiring unit in partnership with the Graduate College. Questions regarding international work arrangements for graduate positions should be directed to the hiring unit and/or Graduate College.

International Employment Legal Obligations

International employment relationships result in increased risks to the University, and also sometimes directly to supervisors. Other countries have increasingly enacted additional obligations and prohibitions on the actions that the University may take with employees. These may include, but are not limited to, different laws related to recruitment, credit and criminal background checks, record keeping, minimum wage, calculation and payment of overtime wages, parental leave, paid and unpaid leave, workplace accessibility, mandatory training, discrimination claims, termination, tax and other paycheck withholdings.

Due to the complexity and cost of complying with country-specific laws and unique tax requirements, departments and units should not hire or transfer employees to another country without securing legal counsel to understand the obligations and compliance responsibilities as an employer. Departments and units are responsible for covering any costs incurred for legal counsel and visa requirements, if applicable. 

Overview of International Employment Strategies

When considering an international employment arrangement, it is important to determine the appropriate method to hire or compensate the employee working outside of the United States. The unique purpose and position details of the international assignment will determine the appropriate international employment strategy for the employment arrangement.  Please review the International Employment Strategies Quick Reference Guide for more information about each of the University’s employment strategies. Additional information on the available employment strategies is outlined below. 

Direct University Employment Arrangements

Direct University employees are those employees whose work is managed by the University and who are paid through University payroll. 

Hiring Eligibility

In order to be hired by the University and receive a paycheck through Payroll, the individual must have a Social Security number (and consequently be entitled to work in the United States) and a US bank account. Hiring units may reach out to the Workforce Systems team regarding I-9’s and hiring transactions.

Pay & Benefits

The University of Arizona does not currently offer international health care plans, country-specific retirement savings options, or country-specific payroll and taxation services for employees working outside of the United States.

University payroll is only issued in US dollars and cannot be directly deposited into foreign bank accounts.  Units should advise employees working internationally that direct deposit into their US bank account will mitigate potential issues with lost or delayed checks and local bank fees for cashing international checks. In some cases, local banking institutions may not accept international checks. 

Important Considerations

  • Direct employment arrangements are subject to strict time limits. Any extension of an international placement may require the use of an alternative employment arrangement.
  • Units must consult with International Faculty and Scholars prior to authorizing any employee on a visa to travel internationally. Employees in the US on a visa or permanent resident basis may be subject to additional travel limitations and restrictions. 

Approval Responsibilities 

All direct employment international arrangements meeting all four criteria below must go through the University’s approval process. 

  1. Work location is outside the United States; and
  2. Work location lasts more than 8 weeks consecutive or cumulative within a calendar year; and
  3. Employment category is staff, faculty, academic/service professional, administrator, postdoctoral; and
  4. A request form has not yet been submitted.

The University’s approval process has three steps:

  1. Obtain documented approval from your Senior Vice President for the international arrangement. 
  2. Submit the International Employment Notification Form. This form should be submitted at least a month in advance of the international employment arrangement’s anticipated start date to support timely processing of the request.
  3. Notify employee or applicant upon notification of approval. Units should not approve of international employment requests or extend offers for international employment until this process has been completed. 

For questions related to international employment approval for direct university employees, please contact Kelly Mannes in Recruitment and Outreach at

Professional Employer Organizations

For individuals who cannot be hired or retained as direct university employees while working internationally, utilizing one of the university’s contracted Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) is an available alternative means to engage their services. 

When utilizing one of the contracted PEOs to manage international employment, the PEO would serve as the Employer of Record, rather than the University. It would manage employee payroll, required and optional employment benefits and taxation, assume legal risk related to employment law violations, and circumvent the need for the University to register as an employer in a foreign country. Units utilizing the PEO still would define the position duties, oversee the work performed by the PEO employee, and recruit and identify the finalists for each position. 

Important Considerations

  • The timeline to initiate a PEO arrangement is case-dependent due to factors such as country-specific employment laws and work authorization requirements. 
  • Units seeking to engage the PEO’s services for employment related to research and sponsored projects should consult with Research, Innovation, & Impact (RII) to learn more about any additional approval requirements and special considerations. 
  • The PEO is best used at the start of an arrangement to ensure that the employee obtains proper work authorization and registration in the work country. Additional complexities may arise if attempting to switch a direct employment arrangement to a PEO arrangement while the employee is abroad.

For details, please contact Kelly Mannes in Recruitment and Outreach at

Alternative Employment Arrangements

Certain arrangements may be considered for an alternative employment strategy such as contracting with an independent contractor or developing a cooperative arrangement with a foreign university or research partner. 

Independent Contractors

An independent contractor (ICON) is a person who provides a service for the University, but is not a direct university employee. They typically have a separate workplace, are not supervised, and have a particular set of skills not available elsewhere within the University. The University controls and directs only the result of the work the individual must do in exchange for remuneration and not what will be done or how it will be done. An independent consultant/contractor will be required to handle all legal and taxation obligations for their country.

Important Considerations

  • Due to the nature of the University’s business, anyone who teaches, lectures, plans, or grades a course through which students may receive academic credit will always be classified as an employee. 
  • In many countries, independent contractor arrangements must be timebound and tied to a specific project. Repeated or extended use of an independent contractor could require the independent contractor arrangement to become an employment arrangement.   

For additional details about independent contractor arrangements, please consult the Financial Services Manual, section 9.12 Independent Contractor Services.

Cooperative Arrangements

The University maintains many active collaboration agreements with local universities and third-party organizations around the globe. When establishing a cooperative arrangement with an in-country partner, it may be possible for the local partner organization to act as the primary employer for any in-country employees necessitated by the arrangement. The University would then reimburse the partner organization for any employee-related expenses.  For details, please contact Kelly Mannes in Recruitment and Outreach at