Oyster offers a suite of online solutions for hiring, paying, and managing a global workforce. Its services cover more than 180 countries, allowing small to midsize businesses (SMBs) to handle global human resources (HR) processes and local benefits easily. In our evaluation of the best international payroll services, Oyster earned an overall score of 4.23 out of 5.
In addition to employer of record (EoR) services that enable you to find and recruit global employees, Oyster provides compliance solutions and support to ensure that you remain up to date with local labor, payroll, and tax regulations. You’re also granted access to a cloud-based global employment platform with expense management, time-off tracking, and intellectual property (IP) protection tools.
Monthly fees for its EoR services start at $599 per employee (if paid month to month; $499 per employee if paid annually upfront). If you plan to only hire and pay international contractors, Oyster offers two packages that cost $0 (for up to two contractors) and $29 per worker (for more than two contractors).
- Monthly fees for EoR services vary by country
- Localized benefits plans are paid add-ons
- Lacks phone support
- Dedicated hiring support available only in highest tier
- Limited third-party software integration options
Oyster Deciding Factors
Are you looking for something different? If you only want online tools to pay US-based employees, check out our list of the best payroll services. If you need help deciding which payroll software to get, read our guide to finding the right payroll solution.
Top Oyster Alternatives
Oyster earned perfect ratings in our evaluation given its multiple plan options, transparent pricing, and reasonable fees. For companies that only want to hire and pay international contractors, Oyster has a free starter package (for up to two contractors) and a Lite plan (for more than two contractors) with monthly fees that start at $29 per worker.
Meanwhile, Oyster’s pricing for hiring and paying global employees is based on the country to which you plan to expand. Monthly fees start at $599 per employee if you pay month to month, or $499 per employee if you pay annually (paid in a lump sum). For large businesses, Oyster offers a custom-priced Enterprise tier that comes with additional global compliance and hiring support.
In The News:
- In December 2022, Oyster released the updated pricing for its EoR services, raising its monthly fee from $399 per worker to $599 per worker. Note that the new rate, which took effect on Jan. 3, 2023, is only for specific countries. Check its website for a list of country-specific pricing.
- For existing OysterHR clients with discounted pricing, the provider will still honor the agreed-on rates, provided it predates Jan. 3, 2023. For inquiries, contact your OysterHR account manager.
Global payroll processing with Oyster is easy given its user-friendly platform that can handle fully compliant salary payments, including expense reimbursements and bonus payouts. In our evaluation of its payroll functionalities, Oyster earned a 4.13 out of 5 score. It didn’t get a perfect rating in this criterion because it lacks time tracking features (only offers time-off management tools). Here are some of its payroll functionalities.
With Oyster, you get one platform to process both employee and contractor payroll. It partners with payroll experts and has local entities in the countries it services, allowing the provider to run payroll and manage local taxes compliantly. You can choose your preferred currency and payroll frequency. Salary payouts are typically done monthly, but this can change to twice a month, depending on country payroll regulations.
If you have bonus and commission payments, Oyster lets you add this information via its “Add Payroll Change” feature. You can even set these payments as a one-time or monthly recurring transaction. While these payment details can be inputted directly into Oyster’s platform at any time in the year, the system won’t allow you to make payroll changes to the current month if the pay period’s cut-off date has passed.
Cross-border payments and direct deposits
Cross-border payments are made possible through international money transfers, allowing you to pay workers in more than 120 currencies. However, for Oyster to pay employees, you have to set up a payment method by connecting your bank account to its system. Payroll funds will be pulled from your account automatically, based on employee and contractor pay runs that you approve.
Oyster supports automated clearing house (ACH) direct deposits, but only if you have a US-based bank account and pay global employees in USD ($). If you pay workers in GBP (£) and euro (€), Oyster allows you to set up payments via Bankers Automated Clearing Services (BACS) and Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) direct deposits, respectively, provided your bank allows these transactions.
When setting up direct debit payments in Oyster, note that the system will require you to verify your account. Some banks’ verification process includes depositing small amounts into your bank account and you have to input those amounts into Oyster. For SEPA direct deposits, you have to click the “Authorize account” button after you have input your account details into the system.
Online expense reimbursements
Oyster has an “Expenses” module where employees can submit expense reimbursements and upload the related receipts. Reimbursement requests are sent to you for review and approval. and approval. Then, Oyster will process all approved expense reimbursements in the next pay cycle.
Contractor payments and invoices
Oyster processes salary payments based on approved invoices submitted by fixed contract workers (individuals who receive the same amount each month) and pay-as-you-go contractors (workers who are paid a defined rate for a specific task or unit, such as the number of hours worked).
Fixed contractors don’t need to create and submit invoices because Oyster automatically generates these for them monthly. Pay-as-you-go contractors will need to create and submit invoices through Oyster manually. All submitted invoices will go to you for review and approval. Note that Oyster will only start the payment process after you have approved the contractor invoices.
Approvers or system administrators can approve expense reimbursement requests one by one or in bulk. System administrators can even raise an expense claim on behalf of the employee. Note, however, that these transactions are marked “approved” automatically in Oyster.
Two things you’ll notice highlighted in our OysterHR reviews article are its solid self-onboarding tools and locally compliant contracts. These functionalities, coupled with Oyster’s robust compliance support, contributed to this provider getting nearly perfect marks (4.75 out of 5) for HR features. It lost points because while it provides competitive local benefits plans, you have to pay extra to access “Oyster Health”—a global health insurance plan (through SafetyWing) that covers more than 175 countries. Here are some of its HR features.
Hiring international employees is a complicated process as it involves complex labor laws that differ per country. Oyster’s EoR service is designed to help you avoid compliance mistakes, providing you access to local experts who can assist you in finding qualified candidates and guide you through the entire process. Oyster even assigns dedicated hiring success managers to clients who sign up for its Enterprise plan, which is great for businesses that plan to ramp up global recruitment activities.
Oyster also has free-to-use online tools for calculating global employment costs, analyzing worker misclassification risks, and assessing potential costs if you want to convert contractors into employees. It even has country hiring guides to help you learn best practices for recruiting, paying, and managing global employees.
Guided hiring with automated tools
In addition to EoR services and hiring support, Oyster’s online platform has automated tools for building competitive and locally compliant employment packages. Its in-platform virtual hiring assistant, Pearl, not only guides you through the system’s hiring and onboarding processes but also helps you select the best employment terms, such as the standard probation period and vacation leave credits, for your new hires based on their location.
Note that Oyster hasn’t completely rolled out its automated global hiring solution and virtual hiring assistant to all the countries it services. As of this writing, these tools are available only in 20-plus countries.
Locally compliant contracts
After you have decided on the candidate to recruit, you can raise a hiring request via Oyster’s online platform to start the contract creation process. The system will require you to select the employment type as employee or contractor and input your candidate’s basic information, such as full name, email address, and location/country. Then, you can choose the best employment terms from the country-specific hiring requirements and options offered by Oyster’s virtual hiring assistant, Pearl.
The system will generate the contract automatically based on the choices you made. It will also use a template with the employment conditions specific to the country where your new hire will be employed in. After you have reviewed the contract, submit the hiring request online and Oyster will get started with the process. This process includes the creation and approval of a service agreement between you and Oyster as well as the provider preparing the next steps to onboard the employee.
While you can use Oyster’s built-in contract templates, you can upload your own employment agreements into the system. Also, for countries where Oyster’s automated hiring tools have yet to go live, the contract creation process isn’t as streamlined and may require manual contract status updates from the Oyster team.
New hire self-onboarding
Oysters will send an email to your new hires, inviting them to join the Oyster platform and create their own online accounts. Your employees and contractors will be asked to input their personal details―such as full name, address, and phone number―bank account information, Social Security number, and other new hire requirements. Oyster will use the data that both employees and employers have inputted into the system to create all the necessary contracts and agreements, such as noncompete and confidentiality agreements, which new hires will need to review and sign.
Employees who complete the onboarding process and have signed work contracts can access Oyster’s tools, such as time-off and expense reimbursement requests. They can also view their payslips online and generate employment verification letters for tourist visa or housing loan applications.
If an employee resigns, retires, or will be terminated from your company, Oyster requires that you provide them with at least 30 days’ notice (except for cases of gross misconduct). You can do this by raising an offboarding request through its platform and providing the reason for the contract termination or separation.
After receiving the request, Oyster will contact you to confirm the details. Then, it will manage the entire offboarding process—from notifying the worker to preparing the necessary documents for signature. It will also provide you with a summary of the offboarding process and what to expect for each step.
Oyster’s partnership with SafetyWing allows it to offer localized benefits to your employees. Its Oyster Health plan is available in more than 175 countries and comes with two plan options: Standard and Premium. Pricing starts at $80 per month and is based on your employee’s age and location.
The Standard plan covers inpatient, outpatient, preventative, and emergency care. Meanwhile, the Premium tier includes additional dental and vision benefits as well as routine health checks and vaccinations.
Online benefits advisor
Oyster has an online “Benefits Advisor” tool that lists the benefits that local companies offer and local experts recommend. It has four categories:
- Statutory: Benefits required by law
- Bronze package: Basic extended benefits offered by 60% of the companies that Oyster analyzed
- Silver package: Locally optimized benefits offered by 25% of the companies that Oyster analyzed
- Gold package: Best-in-class benefits offered by 5% of the companies that Oyster analyzed
These categories help you gain a better understanding of the mandatory benefits you should provide, including the options that will make you stand out from other companies. What’s also great about this tool is that it is free to use and you can easily choose the category you want for the selected country.
Oyster can handle time-off requests for vacation, sick, and other paid (and unpaid) leaves. Employees can raise the requests via the system, and administrators can approve or reject these online. Administrators can also create a time-off request on behalf of an employee. Note that this type of transaction will still require admin approval.
In our evaluation of Oyster’s reporting features, the provider only received a 2.5 out of 5 rating. While it has locally compliant contracts, built-in agreement templates, and reports you can download either as a PDF or Excel file, its reporting options are limited. Plus, its inability to customize the report by country cost it some points.
As of this writing, Oyster can generate four reports:
- Payroll report: A report containing all of your full-time employees’ payroll, from the date that you set up your Oyster account (this doesn’t include data before March 2022; you have to get this separately from Oyster’s payroll module)
- Team member report: A report that shows your employees’ and contractors’ personal and employment details
- Invoice report: A report of all invoices for both employees and contractors
- Expense report: A report of all expenses for both employees and contractors
Oyster scored 4.5 out 5 in this criterion because of its intuitive platform and easy-to-use online tools. Its solid compliance solutions, comprehensive hiring guides, and dedicated support also contributed to its high score. It didn’t get perfect marks because it lacks phone support—you can only contact customer support via email, chat, and help tickets raised through its platform.
- User-friendly and intuitive platform
- Automated hiring and onboarding processes
- In-app virtual hiring assistant (Pearl)
- Access to local hiring and compliance experts
- Dedicated customer success manager
- Online global hiring guides and tools
- Locally compliant contracts
- FAQs and how-to guides
- Email and chat support
Oyster makes global hiring easy with its user-friendly platform, compliance support, and automated online tools. I’m impressed with its virtual hiring assistant, Pearl, as it provides not only the basic hiring requirements but also recommends employment terms and options to help you build a strong and competitive package.
In addition, it handles international payments with ease, and you don’t have to worry about keeping track of deductions and tax payments—Oyster will handle these for you. It even lets your global employees file expense reimbursement requests online. If you need to provide allowances or bonuses, you can input these details directly into Oyster for pay processing.
Tasks that require your attention are added to your Oyster dashboard automatically. This includes notifications for invoices, expenses, and time-off requests that require your approval. Links to some of Oyster’s online tools can also be found on the dashboard, enabling you to access country guides, manage invoices, and raise hiring requests quickly.
If you use third-party business software, Oyster integrates popular accounting, expense management, applicant tracking, and HR information management solutions. However, its network isn’t robust. Here are some of its partner systems.
- QuickBooks Online
Oyster earned a 4.38 out of 5 rating in our expert assessment given its reasonably priced plans, efficient EoR and payroll services, compliance support, and automated solutions for hiring and onboarding international workers. However, its limited HR features prevented this provider from getting a perfect score in this criterion. It doesn’t have the wide range of HR solutions that similar providers offer, such as Rippling. Note that with Rippling, you get time tracking, learning management, and employee survey functionalities in addition to hiring, onboarding, and pay processing tools.
Oyster’s low score in this criteria is due mainly to the small number of user reviews on third-party review sites like G2 and Capterra. Those who left positive OysterHR reviews highlighted its responsive support team and efficient global hiring tools as its best features. Several users also like its easy-to-use platform and automated solutions that help streamline processes.
Meanwhile, there are only a handful of negative OysterHR reviews online. One user disliked having to pay the required security deposit while a few others wished for more features like additional time-off types, better health coverage, and a more robust expense claim tool.
At the time of publication, Oyster software reviews earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
How We Evaluated Oyster
We looked at the provider’s features (both HR and payroll) and payment options. We also considered ease of use, transparency in pricing, HR and compliance support, and customer support. Access to third-party integrations, employee benefits plans, and onboarding tools is also important. We even check the feedback that actual users posted on popular user review sites.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
25% of Overall Score
We looked for convenience features like automatic pay runs, local tax filing, and the ability to pay contractors and employees with manual check capabilities and direct deposit. Providers rank better if their services are available in more than 100 countries, with a team of in-country payroll and HR compliance experts.
20% of Overall Score
We highly favored providers that showed straightforward pricing with multiple plan options. In addition to each software’s per-employee pricing, we checked if any required setup fees. We also gave more points to providers that allow unlimited pay runs and have multiple plan options.
15% of Overall Score
The best global payroll service includes essential HR features, such as onboarding, self-service portals, and benefits. We favored companies that offered tools to help with legal compliance issues. We also considered PEO services and benefit and deduction assistance.
15% of Overall Score
The global payroll software should have no setup fee and be easy to use. We also looked for an intuitive user platform, including live phone support, training options, and flawless integration with other software.
10% of Overall Score
In addition to the number of payroll reports, we considered whether they are customizable or if you could create special reports for your specific need.
10% of Overall Score
Sometimes, a service can check all the boxes but not be the best fit for a small business. The expert review is our opinion on how well a service meets SMB needs for payroll and HR, including its general value for the dollar.
5% of Overall Score
We took the average review ratings from third-party sites like G2 and Capterra, which are also based on a 5-star scale. Any option with an average of 4-plus stars is ideal. We also favored software with more than 1,000 reviews on any third-party site.
*Percentages of overall score
Expanding your business in other countries most likely means hiring either contract workers to handle special projects or local employees who can manage your company’s day-to-day operations. With Oyster, you can find, hire, and pay both international contractors and employees with ease. Its EoR services cover more than 180 countries and include compliance support to ensure that you remain compliant with local labor laws and regulations.
You also get an online platform that’s intuitive, simple to learn, and easy to navigate through. What’s also great about Oyster is that it has an in-app virtual hiring assistant and an online benefits tool to help you understand country-specific hiring requirements and determine the best employment terms and benefits options for recruiting global employees.
Sign up for an Oyster plan today.