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Re: Working online in foreign countries

Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
21 of 49

@Reinier B wrote:

 Preston, nobody can let aside legal and bureaucratic matters. Of course, nobody is allowed working online or offline in the US without a work permit. Freelancers should be cautious what they communicate. Some time ago a young woman from Germany who just finished school was not allowed to enter the US when she already had arrived at the US airport to visit her aunt's family. The reason: The US authorities checked her FB account and read her post that she could sometimes look after the children and drive them to school with the car. She was suspected that she intended to work in the US as an aupair without a work permit, treated accordingly and sent back to Germany.

 Does the US Immigration Service really check peoples' Facebook accounts? Not saying its not true, but does Big Brother not have anything better to do?

"1984" is alive and thriving ... has been for quite some time.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
22 of 49

The answer is not to lie, but not to say. Fortunately, I am at an age where I am unlikely to be suspected of "stealing jobs" from anyone!


However; I do recall some years back, when I had a shop/studio in southern France and for my bread and butter I painted thousands and thousands of gourds in the style of those Russian dolls. Without thinking, I took a few to Canada when I visited family, and suddenly realized when I was waiting at passport control, that these stupid things were plants and had seeds in them.


In spite of feeling faint and appalled at my stupidity, I said I did not have more cigarettes or booze than was permitted, and that I had no meat or cheese, but I did not mention the painted dolls reposing in my very large suitcase.


I break out in a sweat to this day thinking about that uncomfortable half hour.

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Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
24 of 49

Agricultural Inspectors are strict - but it is preventative; not political.  Australia is very tough as is Hawaii.  Both, being islands or an island continent, are somewhat protected from non-indigenous plant and soil diseases and work to keep it that way.


Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
25 of 49

Just to clarify:

Countries have many policies in place to protect what enters into the country, whether it is fruit, seeds, illegal drugs, weapons, and also people... whether those people are entering as tourists or students or workers or immigrants.


It's not a political thing.


When going through customs, for example, it is standard for border officials to inspect luggage and it is also standard for them to try to determine the nature of a visitor's visit, whether that visitor intends to work or not.


But there is a difference between a visitor to a country planning to do work that would otherwise be done by a resident of that country (e.g., an au pair), versus a visitor planning to do work on a project that is done online, on an assignment secured while in the visitor's native country, such as with an Upwork freelancer.


Speaking generally, of course.


If you want to see these principles in action, in real-world, actual situations, I strongly recommend watching these Netflix series:

Border Security: Australia's Front Line

Border Security: Canada's Front Line

Border Security: America's Front Line


All of these documentary series show border officials asking visitors entering various countries about their plans while in the country. If visitors plan to work, and they have the proper paperwork or visas that allow them to do so, then they are allowed to enter. If they plan to work but doing so would be illegal for them, then they are typically denied entry. Border officials DO check paperwork that visitors bring. They go through the visitors' cell phones, email, and (yes), they look at Facebook.


But, as seen in these series, the nature of the work matters. It matters whether or not the work to be done would be taking away jobs from local residents or not. So online work (e.g. Upwork contracts) is treated differently from work that could only be physically done by people in the country the visitor is entering.


(Keep in mind I'm only speaking generally and describing what I observed while watching all the episodes of some TV series. I'm not providing legal advice about any specific countries or situations.)

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
27 of 49

re: "As to checking travellers cell phones and FB accounts etc. and probably asking for the passwords in the future, I will not travel to such countries."


Then you may want to avoid travelling to Australia, Canada and the United States.


Almost every episode of these documentary series shows immigration and border officials checking the cell phones, text messages, and email of people entering those countries. Keep in mind that these series were made with the complete cooporation of the immigration and border officials. We see extensive footage of officials checking the cell phones and looking up things on social media, often in their back offices.


They also open up luggage and search for printed papers and documents related to work arrangements in the destination countries. They also inquire about employment in the visitors countries of residence (source countries) in order check to see that the visitors are currently employed, and thus unlikely to be looking for employment in the destination country.


Australia is the most stringent when it comes to checking visitors' work intentions and turning away people suspected of entering the country with the intention of working without permission to do so. But there's not that much difference between the three.


Of course, I'm only pointing out what is shown in these series. I have no idea how the policies and practices of immigration and border officials in these three countries compare to those of officials in other countries. For all I know, the exact same procedures may be followed by officials in Country X - the country you are planning to travel to.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
29 of 49

@Preston H wrote:

Of course, I'm only pointing out what is shown in these series.

 I have watched every episode of Dr. House.


Let me wax lyrically about complex neurological disorders.

Community Guru
Natasa M Member Since: May 8, 2014
30 of 49

He is talking apples and you are talking oranges. 


And regarding this strange story, I don't think that is a whole story, and quite frankly, I find it very hard to believe--it would just not be doable to do all that for every person coming to the U. S. especially not someone from country that has a solid economy. People would not be able to travel at all and all airports in the world would be blocked if that was the case...And the U.S. would lose billions that they get from tourists, foreign students and other visitors...


To add, it doesn't really pay off for Americans to hire their nannies off the books even if they work for peanuts, because they can't claim that nannies' salaries in their tax deductions...They have more than enough legal nannies there. And not to mention that almost no one would have a confidence in teenager/young adult to do this highly responsible job...So even if that was her plan, no one would hire someone who has unresolved status, who doesn't have long-term visa, who doesn't have experience or American references etc. She would have to self-deport sooner or later, so it would make zero sense to single her out and waste government resources on her...


I had German friends in the U.S. and none of them needed visa --not even tourist visa--up to 90 days. Au pair--J1-- is not real work permit, but cultural exchange sponsorship visa--the work they do is not considered work in the real sense of that word, the same goes for religious workers/ngos/missioners...