The best countries to hire remote virtual assistants

Published

Jun 23, 2023

Highly skilled and affordable remote virtual assistants (VAs) can be found anywhere there’s a solid internet connection. Just like an in-office assistant, VAs provide a wide range of administrative support. This includes administrative tasks like answering phone calls, data entry, scheduling, bookkeeping, project management, managing social media accounts, simple graphic design, web design, handling e-commerce, and more—all at a fraction of the cost. Some VAs are Americans who are engaged in remote work as digital nomads, while others are citizens of another country—especially countries where English is widely spoken like India and Canada.

There are many benefits to using virtual assistant services. A recent survey showed that 80% of companies, business owners, and entrepreneurs using VAs reported an increase in productivity and a decrease in overhead. Compared to a full-time employee, the labor cost savings can be as high as 78%. Most offshore VAs have a strong work ethic and years of experience. They can provide regional expertise, business expertise, and conduct business in other languages and in different time zones. Virtual assistants are also scalable. If you’re running a small business, you can hire a VA for an hourly rate and expand as needed. For the yearly salary of an in-house administrative assistant, you can hire a small team of part-time VAs. 

The virtual assistant industry is part of business process outsourcing (BPO). The BPO market, which also includes outsourced services like HR, finance, and customer care, is projected to be worth $130 billion in 2023.

We’ve put together a list of countries to help you hire the best virtual assistants from around the world.

The top 10 best countries to hire virtual assistants

1. Philippines

Business process outsourcing in the Philippines accounts for 15-20% of the global BPO market and contributes $30 billion to the country’s economy while employing more than 1.3 million Filipinos. In addition to Filipino (Tagalog), English is an official language. With more than 64% of Filipinos speaking it, it’s no surprise that the country is a major tech outsourcing hub. 

According to Forbes, the Philippines is the sixth fastest-growing freelance market in the world, serving Europe, the US, Australia, and Japan. Low labor costs and a strong cultural affinity with the US make Filipino virtual assistants an attractive option.

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: PHP 388,705 or USD 6,973 
  • Time zones: PHT, UTC+8:00
  • Additional language skills: Filipino (Tagalog) 

2. India

India accounts for 65% of the offshore BPO market and has become a global outsourcing center with a nearly inexhaustible supply of high-quality, skilled workers—especially in software development. Labor costs are a fraction of those in the US due to India’s low cost of living.

Along with Hindi, English is an official language, with more than 200 million speakers. Large VA agencies are located in India, making it easy to find the right person. India’s time zone is beneficial for those in the US who prefer VA tasks (like social media management) to be completed overnight and ready first thing in the morning.

  • Average virtual assistant salary: INR 310,336 or USD 3,785
  • Time zones: IST, UTC+5:30 
  • Additional language skills: Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi

3. Canada

There are many advantages to hiring VAs from Canada. The country has a highly educated population (22% of university students graduated with a STEM degree) and a large tech sector. English and French are official languages and while the majority of Canadians speak English as their first language, 18% of the population is bilingual (English/French) and there is a growing group of people who speak English and another language such as Mandarin or Punjabi. Canadians also understand North American culture, so there’s less chance of getting your wires crossed. And Canada’s time zones are the same as in the US, meaning it’s easy to sync up with your VA. 

The lower value of the Canadian dollar—relative to the US dollar—means cheaper labor costs as well. BPO revenues in Canada are expected to top USD 10 billion in 2023.

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: CAD 49,625 or USD 37,528
  • Time zones: PT, UTC-7:00; MT, UTC-6:00; CT, UTC-5:00; ET, UTC-4:00; AT, UTC-3:00; NT, UTC-2:30
  • Additional language skills: French, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Punjabi 

4. Malaysia 

Because English is taught as a second language in Malaysia, more than 62% of the population speaks it and young tech workers are taking full advantage. In 2021, Malaysia’s BPO sector was estimated to be nearly $1.5 billion and growing at an annual rate of 8%

Malaysia is an attractive country for VAs given the low cost and availability of skilled labor. The Malaysian government has launched initiatives aimed at transforming the country into a digital nation and regional data hub. Malaysia’s time zone works well for VAs handling business tasks in Asia. 

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: MYR 43,030 or USD 9,298 
  • Time zones: MYT, UTC+8:00 
  • Additional language skills: Malay 

5. Singapore 

Singapore is an Asian business and tech hub with a highly educated multilingual population. The country's education system consistently receives top marks with students excelling in math, science, and language. Singapore’s literacy rate is 97.6% and 60% of those over 25 have a post-secondary education.

Malay is the national language and it, along with English, Mandarin, and Tamil are all official languages. In practice, the English language is the common language, spoken by 92% of Singaporeans outside the home. At home, that number drops to about half. In 2020, the business process outsourcing sector had revenues of $3.3 billion, with IT services, digital marketing, and accounting leading the way. 

These are all reasons why hiring a VA based in Singapore is a good choice, especially if you’re doing business in Asian markets. 

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: SGD 37,683 or USD 28,094
  • Time zones: SST/SGT, UTC+8:00
  • Additional language skills: Singaporean, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil

6. Mexico

Tapping into Mexico’s talent pool is a cost-effective option when looking to hire a virtual personal assistant. Not only are there cultural similarities (40 million Americans speak Spanish), Mexican time zones are the same as the US, which is highly beneficial if your VA is collaborating in real-time with your team members.

Over 175,000 Mexicans work in the BPO sector, generating $2.4 billion in revenue. Over 15 million Mexicans (12.9% of the population) speak English. Add to this the number of remote workers who have set up shop in Mexico and there are plenty of skilled VA candidates available. 

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: MXN 148,688 or USD 8,698
  • Time zones: PT, UTC-7:00; MT, UTC-6:00; CT, UTC-5:00; ET, UTC-4:00
  • Additional language skills: Spanish 

7. United Kingdom 

The United Kingdom’s location between North America and continental Europe makes it ideally placed for VAs to handle tasks on both sides of the pond. The UK’s BPO market is growing and is expected to exceed $20 billion by 2026. 

Half of UK citizens aged between 30 and 34 have a post-secondary education, which is one of the highest rates in Europe. This means finding a well-educated VA with just the right qualifications is effortless, especially given the number of freelancers and agencies based in the UK. Wages are very competitive with the US. 

As well, both tech infrastructure and data protection are rock solid in the UK. Even though it is no longer part of the EU, the UK’s data protection law is based on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: GBP 26,639 or USD 34,076
  • Time zones: BST, UTC+1
  • Additional language skills: Continental European languages, South Asian languages

8. Brazil

Brazil is one of Latin America’s IT hubs. The country has a young workforce and about 23% of 25-34 year-olds have a post-secondary education. Brazil’s business process outsourcing is growing and is projected to reach an estimated $5 billion by 2027.

There are several large virtual assistant agencies in the country and VAs can be found on popular freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and other sites that post virtual assistant jobs. Time zones work well for the US East Coast and Europe.

Brazil’s official language is Portuguese and just 5% of the population—about 10 million people—speak fluent English. However, that number is growing as more young Brazilians learn English.

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: BRL 50,626 or USD 10,595
  • Time zones: ACT, UTC-5:00; AMT, UTC-4:00; BRT, UTC-3:00; FNT, UTC-2:00
  • Additional language skills: Portuguese 

9. Australia 

Australia’s pool of VA talent offers recruiters an abundance of workers with different skill sets, suitable for any niche. English is the official language, and while it’s closer to British English than American, it’s just as easy to understand. 

Australians are highly educated, with most completing secondary school. About 35% of the workforce holds a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The work culture in Australia is very similar to North America and technical infrastructure is robust and dependable. The cost of hiring in Australia is lower owing to a favorable exchange rate. 

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: AUD 57,039 or USD 38,817
  • Time zones: AEST, UTC+10:00; ACST, UTC+9:30; AWST, UTC+8:00
  • Additional language skills: Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese

10. Indonesia 

With its low labor costs, Indonesia is another good choice for hiring a qualified VA. As with most countries, contracting can be done directly or through an agency. 

With a population of nearly 280 million, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. English isn’t widely spoken, but that’s beginning to change. The government is encouraging Indonesians to learn English and many schools teach it as a second language. A rough estimate is that 10% of the population speaks passable English. That’s still more than 25 million people. 

A growing IT sector has had a positive effect on Indonesia’s outsourcing industry, which is now valued at just under $2 billion. This is expected to grow 10% by 2030

  • Average annual virtual assistant salary: IDR 136,454,668 or USD 9,067.36
  • Time zones: WIB, UTC+7:00; WITA, UTC+8:00; WIT, UTC+9:00
  • Additional language skills: Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin.

*Note: Salary data is gathered from several sources. Exact values vary depending on updated currency exchange rates, seniority levels, and geographical location within each country. 

Hiring remote virtual assistants across the globe with Ripping

From onboarding to offboarding, Rippling helps you streamline the entire employee lifecycle—globally, and all in one place. 

Just click "hire" and Rippling can support your global workforce right out of the box:

  • Set up localized employment agreements.
  • Pay employees and contractors in India and around the world—without waiting for bank transfers or conversions.
  • Easily stay compliant with overtime, leave, and termination requirements.

Catch Rippling in action and learn how Rippling EOR can monitor the tangled web of global termination requirements—so you don’t have to. 

Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: July 12, 2023

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