Is It Right, Wrong or Even Worth It?

I was recently reading an article on a large expat website about a woman who is working for a large American firm that thinks she is living in another part of the USA – when in fact she is living in South America. She suggested that the company was happy for her to work remotely, but probably would not have hired her if she was based in another country.

This got me thinking about the whole practice of working remotely in secret, so I wanted to look into the topic in this blog post.

Is Working Abroad in Secret Even Possible?

You may balk at the possibility of working remotely from abroad without your employer or clients knowing. However, it is certainly possible. For example:

– most communication these days is via email. – using Skype, you can get a telephone number that functions exactly the same as a local number. – many freelance workers never meet their clients in person.

This means that if you are working remotely it often does not matter whether you are working from home, from the café down the road or from another country altogether.

But Is It Right?

The question of whether it is right or not to lie about your location when working remotely is not for me to say. All I would say is that there are definitely issues involved if you decided to go down this path.

You have to ask yourself whether it is fair on your clients or employer to do so. Do they not have the right to know where you live? There may be issues surrounding insurance, for example. Some clients may simply like to know that the people they are hiring are based in the same country in case any issues arise.

Things to Consider

If you do decide to work remotely from another country without telling your employer or clients, there are definitely some things that you will need to consider.

How would your clients feel if they found out you were working from abroad and you had been lying to them? Many would probably feel deceived if they found out, and you could end up losing an important source of work.

Also, you would have to be careful at all times never to give away your location. Your IP address, which is often revealed in emails or when you are filling out forms online, will show your town or city if not your precise location, so you will need to cover your tracks somehow. You will also have to be careful about your social media activity because you could easily give something away about your location.

Is It Worth It?

In my opinion, it makes more sense to just be honest with people about where you are working from. Many clients and companies are happy to work with people from overseas, and the practice is becoming more accepted all the time. If you lie about your location, you risk souring the working relationship and possibly losing work, and it is something that will constantly be on your mind.

By telling people where you are based you won’t have to worry about hiding your tracks. You may even find that it becomes an interesting way to introduce yourself. People may have been to your current location or know someone who has, and they may start up a conversation about it, which can help to break the ice.

If you really don’t think that you can find work from overseas, one possible solution may be to tell prospective employers or clients that you will soon be moving abroad and taking your work with you to see how they react.

Alternatively, you may want to work for them for a month or so and then suggest that you are thinking about moving abroad. They may be more open to working with you when you are abroad after you have proved that you are a reliable worker.

Think Carefully About Your Options

Working abroad remotely while hiding your location is possible, but that does not mean that it is always a great idea. Always think very carefully before you decide to hide the details of your location because it can backfire on you if you are not careful, and there are serious questions as to whether it is really the right thing to do.


  1. Susan Beverley
    February 16, 2013

    You should always be honest with any person or company you are working for. They will find out sooner or later for sure and it will look bad if you have not been completely up front. As long as you do your job to the best of your ability why should it matter where you are doing it from? I have worked remotely for many years and have been more productive in doing so.

    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      February 18, 2013

      Hi Susan
      I agree! I think it is always better to be honest and transparent over pretty much everything in life. Where are you remote working from Susan?

  2. Elle Draper
    February 25, 2013

    I agree with the above poster – I would always be honest about where I live. I the web design / SEO industry, there are no limits as to where we can work… as long as we have a phone and internet connection.

    All our clients know where we are, and of course love that it keeps our overheads down too. We’re in a tiny village in Spain, but our clients are not only in Spain, but also the Canary Islands, UK and America.

    Elle x

    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      February 25, 2013

      Hi Elle
      Thankyou for reading and for your comment.
      Your life in “tiny village Spain” sounds lovely.


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