Oyster is a global Employer of Record (EOR), enabling companies to hire employees anywhere around the globe. Oyster (also known as Oyster HR) is focused on compliant global hiring solutions that minimize risk for client companies.
- International coverage — hire in any country
- Provides market-leading protection against legal and compliance risk
- Fewer integrations than some competitors
- Lacks some additional HR services, such as recruitment
$399+ per employee
ACH and SWIFT/Wire Transfer
Global Employers of Record (EORs) have been around for a long time, but today they are seeing a surge in popularity due to the many companies building globally distributed remote teams for professional work. While in the past, most Global EORs focused on providing the services that multinational companies needed to enter a new consumer market or quickly hire manufacturing labor abroad, today’s Global EORs, such as Oyster, serve companies hiring international teams of knowledge workers such as programmers, designers, and marketers.
A Global EOR works through a wholly owned subsidiary or a contracted third party to act as the legal employer in the jurisdiction an employee lives or pays taxes. It ensures that the employee is hired and paid compliantly with local regulations, that they received the required statutory benefits packages, receive the required time off and yearly bonuses, and are generally employed in a legal manner following national and local law.
Oyster HR is a Global EOR with its own unique features and offerings. Below we explore their services, pros and cons, and provide our verdict to help business owners decide whether Oyster is the right global employment partner for them.
Oyster allows businesses to hire compliantly, manage payroll and provide benefits for employees in over 180 countries. It has been used by over 1,400 customers, who have hired over 4,500 employees.
Oyster is a globally distributed organization itself, with a team that is spread out over 70 countries. It advertises a strong knowledge of emerging markets and employs 25% of its own team in those countries. It provides services for both full-time employees and contractors, global and local benefits packages, and a full-service online platform.
Employer of Record
Many Global EORs rely on local partners to secure legal employment around the globe. A few establish or purchase their own legal entities. Using contracted partners can allow the broadest possible coverage, however, the use of owned entities eliminates a third party between the business and employee, and can provide faster responses and solutions to workforce issues. Having a Global EOR that is directly liable and responsible for local compliance is also an added level of security that many businesses appreciate. Oyster tries to capture the best of both worlds by using a combination of directly owned subsidiaries and contracted partners. Oyster is aimed mainly at companies hiring remote, professional teams, and advertises that 80% of the knowledge worker market is covered by their direct legal entities. This combination allows Oyster to have a large labor market coverage of 180+ countries, the compliance assurance of direct employees in most regions, and faster response times to queries and issues.
Oyster includes a benefits advisor tool to help businesses find the most competitive packages for each region of employment. It offers a number of Essential benefits packages that comply with local regulations, as well as Competitive and Best-In-Class packages to help businesses attract quality talent. Packages include health, pension, and allowance options.
Oyster offers global packages through Allianz. These include vision, Telehealth, mental health, dental coverage, maternity care, and coverage for pre-existing conditions. Global packages are designed for team members who frequently travel and work outside of their home country. They may be offered alongside or, when regulations allow, as an alternative to local benefits.
Payroll can be processed in over 120 currencies. The consolidated payroll for an international team can be processed in just a few clicks, with automatic currency conversions and tax conversions taken care of by the platform.
All employee and contractor invoices are brought together in the payroll section of the platform. Expense reimbursement requests are also displayed in the same place. For US-based contractors, the platform will automatically create 1099 and W9 forms.
Additional payments, bonuses, and reimubrsenetms can be added by administrators at any time through the platform. Employees can also request additional payments, which are flagged for approval.
Payments to Oyster can be made by direct debit or wire transfer in US dollars, British pounds, and Euros.
Country-specific HR support is available for consultation on standards and norms regarding benefits, time off, equity, and other issues for international teams. Oyster can also help businesses create equitable packages that eliminate take-home pay differences in different regions.
For companies offering equity, Oyster provides an equity assessment tool that helps find the most compliant and simple ways of offering equity shares to employees in different countries. The platform also includes tools to help draft, edit and sign pre-made, compliant contracts for both hourly and fixed-term contractors.
Oyster provides People Service teams, who work with local insurers to find and administer the best benefits packages for employees in different countries. It also provides employees with a support team for both onboarding and offboarding, to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Oyster Academy provides a number of courses for both employees and the general public, offering Remote Ready certificates, and a number of topics helpful to remote workers.
Compliant employment agreements are created automatically, then viewed by a professional legal team, which makes suggestions for changes and submits them back to the client for approval. Once approved, Oyster collects the necessary signatures and starts the onboarding process. For many countries, contracts can be ready in as little as 48 hours.
Oyster can also help draft relocation contracts, provide compliant confidentiality agreements, tools to reduce IP risk, and can convert contractors to full-time employees if they are found to be at risk of misclassification. International legal teams and People Ops teams are available for consultation to help navigate compliance issues as they come up, as well.
The service is both GPDR compliant and compliant with the privacy laws in every country in which Oyster operates. It also offers premium international liability insurance of 12x per employee up to $1 million.
The platform offers a number of global employment tools; an employee analyzer to help determine whether team members should be classified as contractors or full-time employees, a set of global employment templates and lists to streamline the recruitment process, a time zone crossover calculator to help discover the best times for globally distributed teams to meet and collaborate, a global employment cost calculator, a benefits advisor tool listing statutory and most competitive benefits packages for different jurisdictions, a misclassification analyzer to determine potential compliance issues, an international remote work regulations guide, a total employment cost calculator, and time and expense tracking.
The platform also features a virtual hiring assistant who guides management through the hiring process and offers suggestions for contracts based on the laws and labor market in an employee’s country. Country guides are also available for a more in-depth look at the labor laws in any jurisdiction
The Oyster platform is able to integrate with Xero, QuickBooks Online, Greenhouse, Bamboo HR, Hibob, Oracle Netsuite, Expensify, Workday, and Okta. Oyster is preparing an API for developers who wish to integrate its tools and EOR capabilities into their own applications.
Employees can access the platform for time off requests, viewing payslips and contracts, requesting reimbursements, and choosing their own benefits packages.
Anyone can sample the platform for free, a unique offering that gives prospective clients a chance to decide whether the Oyster system works for them before jumping into an EOR relationship.
Pricing starts at $499 per employee per month with an annual contract or $599 per month for a monthly contract. Monthly contracts for specific team members may be converted to yearly contracts at any time. Oyster requires a refundable security deposit but there are no setup or cancellation fees.
Contractors can be managed for $29 per contractor per month.
Oyster offers discounts and a team of dedicated success managers for companies that wish to advance hire over 5 employees. When a business reaches 5 employees, they have the option to pre-pay and access these Scale package discounts.
Companies wishing to hire refugees may do so at either no cost or a discounted rate. Certified non-profits can hire their first full-time employee for free for 1 year.
Oyster Pros and Cons
Benefits of engaging Oyster for its EOR solution include:
- A reputation for top customer service — Oyster is rated 4.4/5 out of 103 reviews on G2, and was ranked Leader in Spring 2023. Most clients find the app easy to use, with a wealth of easily accessible, useful information
- Reasonable pricing — Oyster’s rates are competitive, transparent, and simple to understand. Nonprofits and businesses wishing to hire refugees will appreciate the discounts provided. Those wishing to test out the platform before hiring will enjoy the free, full-service demo
- Wide coverage — Oyster brings a wider global reach than many competitors. The significant amount of directly owned local entities reduces the number of third parties involved, bringing faster service and greater security.
- A variety of online tools such as a contractor vs employee comparison, global hiring templates, a payroll cost calculator and a benefits advisor
- A focus on risk management — Oyster offers premium liability coverage, many insurance options, IP protection, and country-focused legal guidance. Oyster makes legal risk mitigation a feature of all its products.
As with all providers, there are some potential drawbacks to Oyster’s offerings:
- While the platform can integrate with other software services, these are currently limited when compared with some competitors
- Oyster does not offer as many broader HR services as some other global EORs, such as recruitment or visa support services.
Video — Meet the Oyster Platform
User and Employee Reviews
We looked at user and employee reviews and scores on G2 and Glassdoor. The average scores (as of the time of writing) were:
The reviews reveal a deep commitment to customer and employee care and a tech-first approach to its business.
Unique Selling Point
A simple platform for building globally remote professional teams, with the security of directly owned entities and a wide global reach through contracted partners, there are many benefits to engaging Oyster.
Where Oyster stands out from its competitors is in its emphasis on risk and compliance: This includes Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage, and indemnifying their clients who are named in law suits brought by employees.
For this reason, Oyster has been judged by RemotePad as the best EOR for risk management (read more in our top 10 EOR guide).
RemotePad Score for Oyster
4.4/5 Our expert score for Oyster
Our team came to this score by considering the following components in the following weightings:
|Employer of Record features||25%|
For each component, Oyster received the following score:
|Employer of Record features||20/25|
Oyster HR Competitors and Alternatives
Velocity Global vs Oyster HR
Top provider for:
US coverage (all 50 states)
Monthly fee per employee
Remote vs Oyster HR
Top provider for:
Direct EOR solutions
Monthly fee per employee
Deel vs Oyster HR
Top provider for:
Monthly fee per employee
If you are a startup building their team, or a company developing a global team for the first time, Oyster may be exactly what you are looking for. Once you have established a reliable team that you wish to work with for the foreseeable future, you can switch fees to yearly pay and save $1200 per employee. Digital nomad employees will appreciate the global health coverage and the number of features available on the self-service platform.
Oyster has been through four funding rounds and has total funding of $224.2M.
This funding was acquired through four funding rounds, including:
A Seed Round of $4.2M in April 2020
Series A: $20M in February 2021
Series B: 50M in June 2021
Series C: 150M in April 2022.
Yes, Oyster acquired Berlin-based EOT company Carrom in May 2020.