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I'm currently a Lead IT Engineer that works remotely %100 of the time in the United States. I want to move back to Ecuador though to be closer to family. Going to approach my work about this next year but want a backup plan in case it doesn't go well. Does anyone know of anyone working remotely from Ecuador / South America? Should I expect a lower salary working from another country? Is it even reasonable to make this request?

At my company I know of someone who had to quit and be brought back on as a consultant so they could work remotely from Canada. My plan was to take this approach with working from Ecuador but I would have to step down from being a Lead as they have to be fulltime employees.

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    Does the company you are working for have employees in Ecuador? If not.... it is fairly expensive to have employees in remote locations.
    – Questor
    Nov 6, 2023 at 20:55
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    @Questor actual employees yes. Consultants/contractors are much easier for the paying company to use; and OPs company has apparently done this in the past. Nov 6, 2023 at 21:19
  • That's correct. My company has done it in the past, I don't know that they've done it from Ecuador though.
    – Tommy J
    Nov 6, 2023 at 21:38
  • Every country is different, since Canada and the US share a border there is much in place already to handle working over boundaries for individuals and companies. I suspect Ecuador is a whole different set of issues.
    – cdkMoose
    Nov 6, 2023 at 22:12

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Already an accepted answer, but it doesn't really answer all the questions or have much nuance. Here is a bit more detail:

  • It's not uncommon for employers to force a lower salary if you move to a place with a lower cost of living. Not only to another country, but even within the U.S.. Considering cost of living in Ecuador is less than half, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they wanted you to take a pay cut.

  • Typically, companies will be very averse to having employees in other countries. Taxes and legal can get very complicated. They would essentially need to bring on someone who has expertise in Ecuadorian business practices to handle you alone. That said, if you were to become a contractor, then they could avoid a lot of this (but not all, especially on the legal side). You would be responsible for calculating and paying your own taxes. You did mention the other case was from Canada, which may be less different than Ecuador to the U.S. and easier to find people who know how to deal with contractors from that country. The U.S. and Canada also have some established business practices for people working in one country and living in the other. I doubt this is the case for any South American country.

  • Safety/security - Ecuador has a much higher crime index - your company may object on the grounds that if you were to be robbed or otherwise attacked, company secrets could be lost. This depends on exactly what you do and how sensitive the data you work with is.

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  • Ecuadorian crime rates have soared in the past few years, but depending on OP's origin city in the U.S. they might actually be safer in Ecuador en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_homicide_rate
    – Qwokker
    Nov 7, 2023 at 17:12
  • There are also major legal hurdles if you have any sort of governance such as HIPAA. Even though OP may be an American citizen, you may not be able to access the company's system from Ecuador.
    – Nelson
    Nov 13, 2023 at 7:01
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Is it reasonable to request working remotely from Ecuador?

It's always reasonable to ask.

Whether you will be successful or not depends on your company

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Working remotely from Ecuador is not the same as working remotely from the US from a legal and taxation point of view. Taxation and worker rights are based on where you are not who you work for, so supporting a worker in another country is a substantial headache for the company (unless they already have a branch in Ecuador).

I would expect them to either refuse or require you to become self-employed and work for them as a contractor. But there's no harm in asking, so why not do so?

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