I would like to work as freelancer for USA clients, mostly because I am in the EU, and I don't want to wake up at the morning in my timezone.

I've applied to several jobs (which allow remote work) in the USA and been refused, or I haven't receive any response, or they want regular employment and I need a visa to work in USA (and so on).

Is it just the USA that seems to act in this way? I can work under contract and provide legal, valid invoices, if needed, so why the apparent restrictions on remote work?

  • 4
    Something tells me this question isn't exactly the greatest. You are asking why people are refusing you work, without all that much in the way of detail. Your could try and edit your question and improve on this, but in its current form your question is too broad/opinion-based to be properly answerable.
    – Amelia
    Aug 23, 2013 at 5:37
  • On the whole, I've found American companies very Patriotic (some may say Nationalistic) in that they tend to use American suppliers unless there isn't anything suitable. I suggest the UK could learn a thing or two and support its own industry.
    – Andrew
    Aug 23, 2013 at 9:38
  • Are you looking to freelance or are you looking to become a regular employee with one company that happens to work remotely? You mention freelancing but the rest of your post seems to hint at the latter.
    – Sundar R
    Aug 23, 2013 at 14:53
  • There are regular jobs in NY or San Francisco and there are jobs, which allows remote ( at Careers 2.0 for eg) and there are freelance sites too. Not sure why, but USA clients, possible employee don't want to work outside of USA. If I wouls live in USA than they would contract me for remote work. I put this question to see a possible reason, what are the concept there. Thanks for all who has answered
    – matheszabi
    Aug 23, 2013 at 15:04
  • Can we please clarify if this is about US employers and non-US employees (which i believe is off-topic) or US companies and non-US freelancers, which is on-topic (and of interest to me)?
    – Martin F
    Jan 13, 2014 at 3:26

4 Answers 4


Why the are not choosing you? The reasons may be:

  • They prefer working with some in the USA. In case things go bad, they can always sue USA contractor. USA contractors are also aware of this.

  • Price of the project - large project are usually not being subcontracted outside USA

  • Remote workers are unreliable. I heard this sentence from many clients who tried hiring someone full-time remotely, and then got burnt heavily.

  • They are afraid that remote worker may leave in the middle of the project. This is not rare as we all know.

  • "And currency: given the current change rate, companies might be biased into thinking EU citizens are simply too expensive as workers" by ZJR. I've faced the same problems with currency conversions.

  • Some credit cards (like Payoneer) will charge up to 3% any US dollar leaves the US. Meaning, if you're paying someone outside USA $1000, they will charge you $30 extra (besides all other fees) because dollar had left the USA.

  • "Also timezones: a company might be already contracting overseas to China, and that requires a certain timezone juggling to brief, debrief and schedule meetings. Adding Europe into the mix might spike the management overhead, requiring too much energy and resources to keep things working" by ZJR.

  • etc.

I think that these reasons may be the main reason. Of course, some of them may be patriotic, but I think that most of clients would rather hire expert for a lower price, that USA mediocrity just cause he's American.

I would suggest you really try working for that company in the USA. If you are a developer and good one, after a year or so, you may be able to negotiate remote work. A personal friend of mine succeeded in this, but he had to work for that company 2 years on-site.

  • 1
    +1 for highlighting the legal protection aspect. Also fiscal headaches might ensue for companies that have never contracted overseas. And currency: given the current change rate, companies might be biased into thinking EU citizens are simply too expensive as workers.
    – ZJR
    Aug 26, 2013 at 1:59
  • 1
    Also timezones: a company might be already contracting overseas to China, and that requires a certain timezone juggling to brief, debrief and schedule meetings. Adding Europe into the mix might spike the management overhead, requiring too much energy and resources to keep things working.
    – ZJR
    Aug 26, 2013 at 2:10
  • And last but not least: language barriers. EU is not only UK, and I have friends, I grew up with, that expatriated to work overseas, and are pretty proficient at programming, but remain still damn... lacking, in English pronunciation. I have serious troubles understanding them while talking, and also in writing... I prefer them using Italian. Many, well-educated, Europeans still sound too much like poorly trained call-center operators, to US ears. It's a problem that's going to disappear, but right now, it's there.
    – ZJR
    Aug 26, 2013 at 2:24
  • @ZJR Currency, I forgot about that. Will edit the reply. Upvote for that. The same for timezones.
    – Peter MV
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:52
  • @ZJR Most contractors I worked with knew technical English so well that we did not have any issues in communication. I guess if you're hiring a person with experience and not being the cheapest coder, then it's logical that his English skills are at high level.
    – Peter MV
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:57

It seems you're assuming their reason for not hiring you is the fact that you're outside US, but there doesn't seem to be any real evidence to think so. I have been freelancing for a few years and have a few friends doing the same, all of us regularly get awarded projects by US clients and have had generally pleasant experiences with them. If there are people who are over-patriotic or nationalistic enough to not choose non-US employees/contractors, they aren't numerous enough to affect our project pool significantly.

I would recommend you to try contacting those who refused or ignored your application and politely asking them the reason for their rejection, but make sure you mention that you are asking this to improve your application process and not as a complaint against the rejection. It's possible they will ignore this mail also of course, but some may take the time to reply, and even a single reply can throw some light on whatever the real issue is.

  • I think he was not talking about work on projects. He talked about US companies hiring a remote team member. Full-time working the same hours as they. Outsourcing project by US companies is not in question at all.
    – Peter MV
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:58
  • He mentions both "I would like to work as freelancer for USA clients" and "several jobs (which allow remote work)" in the question, and his reply to my comment in the question also (as far as I understand it) indicates he's open to both options.
    – Sundar R
    Aug 26, 2013 at 18:52
  • I read the question again and I do not understand it as a question directed towards single-project jobs. I still think that he seeks full-time long-term jobs. But let's not argue about this any more. Both may be right.
    – Peter MV
    Aug 27, 2013 at 14:27
  • My thoughts are that this has changed since the original question & answer. If you look at remote-only sites like weworkremotely the majority of remote jobs are advertised as US-only. This is really frustrating for someone who is a native English speaker with a 4-5 hour overlap with the West coast.
    – timbo
    Oct 30, 2019 at 20:46

Personally, I'm in France and the two most significant issues clients in the US raise are:

  • Timezone (I'm often stopping work when they're starting)
  • The weak dollar

So, using a randomly selected $250 daily rate (I charge more), that currently works out to €183/day. That's far too little money for a Western European contractor who has a decent reputation. In fact, it's even low for the US, unless you live in a really small, cheap town.

And yes, there's the concern about offshore workers. If you disappear, the company's often not in a position to do anything about it. Of course, the reverse might be true.


After 9 years I found this article here:

“Camera surveillance for nine hours a day is disproportionate and not allowed in the Netherlands,” the Dutch court ruled.

Long story in short. Somebody from NL worked remotely for a company in USA (Chetu). According to another article they already monitored his activity and his screen, but they wanted to see it on webcam also. Because he didn't turn on the webcam the company fired it. This act is legal in USA and it seems it is not legal in NL / EU.

The other fact: monitoring + micromanaging maybe can be justified maybe not. When it can be justified: better to kick that person, in my opinion.

For me: this level of micromanaging and monitoring it is a clear sign of trust. Why should I work for those people?

Now, there is another side of the coin: the company.

Some freelancer sites post jobs, where they clearly require to do all your coding with remote desktop. So can be this case: a USA company employs a people in whatever country, remote. For the shake of example let's say in NL.

That person in NL post a job to a freelancer site: full time job with X salary ( a lot less than half what he gets) and need to do all coding via remote desktop / Teamviewer and other tools. In this case the person in NP has 8 or 9 hour free time + half salary. Somebody in 3rd world it is working on his PC, laptop. This can go against the NDA!

In this days from campering or living in a campervan or something like that videos I heave heard from somebody: "I am not going there, where I am not welcomed". -So maybe it is a great idea to not want to work for those companies in USA, which they don't trust me, they thread me as second or third category people and so on.

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