Question about remote positions policies

I’m not sure where to turn for this but I was recently approached by a recruiter for a remote position for an American studio.

As the discussion unfolded, she told me about the average salary for that position which was in USD. Eventually, she asked me if I was from the Montreal, Canada area to which I replied that I was and then she admitted that she is not supposed to search for talent in that area.

She then said that if I were to be taken, I would instead be managed by their Canadian branch and that the salary and benefits would be different. She inquired about the salary with the Canadian branch and it’s pretty much half of what the American studio pays (considering the currency conversion).

Now I’m left a bit confused because I’m wondering why such a policy would exist and why she would specifically mention the Montreal area. Maybe she meant Canada as a whole? What if I lived in a different country like Mexico? I know that there would be a conflict of interest if the American and Canadian branches had to compete against each other for the same talent while having 2 completely different salary charts, but I’m wondering if there’s more to it.

I’m not necessarily looking to change studios, but for a Canadian, the idea of being paid an American salary is very appealing. Are American studios that have no Canadian branches more open to offer remote work to Canadians?

As for the company itself, and probably all companies who are both based in the US and Canada, are all Canadian applicants not allowed to work for the American branch at all or is it just a big no-no for recruiters to step in Canada while direct applications are tolerated?

Now I don’t want to stir trouble and will keep the company name secret, but I am just genuinely curious about these type of policies and I wonder if people here have inputs/advice/stories to tell regarding this.

If a company is ready to hire remotely, is it fair for them to lower the salary based on the location of the person? Is Montreal specifically being discriminated against? Is my work somehow less valuable because I’m Canadian (obviously not)? Is the situation a simple matter of complicated paperwork that nobody wants to do?

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Unless there are specific policies in place on the national level (like in europe), you cannot work across a border as an individual.
There’s a few options to get around that :

  • Move to the country where you are going to work. (make sure they offer relocation)
  • Start a company and outsource yourself to the company across the border.
  • If the company in question has a branch across the border, you can work for that one (as has been suggested for you)
  • Work as an Employee of Record for a company in your country, and have them outsource you to the company you want to work at.

You can also just tell them the salary in your country is too low, since they approached you there’s a good chance they’ll try and offer more.


Thanks, that’s very informative.

I seem to hear stories, not necessarily related to the video game industry though, of people working a whatever tech job for the US while they’re in Mexico or the Philippines. I guess that thing is not as common as we’d think or maybe those stories are embellished.

Creating a local company for yourself and outsourcing/freelancing is a pretty common thing to do if the company wants you remotely. Depending on your country’s laws and taxation, this can often be the most lucrative option. Note that if you do this, you probably won’t get all the benefits of an actual employee at the company (vacations, healthcare, bonuses, sickpay/sick days, etc.) unless you negotiate that - therefore it’s often recommended to go way higher than your usual pay to make sure you take care of yourself.