In today’s increasingly globalized economy, businesses must ensure that their international background check processes are conducted legally, accurately, and efficiently. Conducting background checks on individuals with international backgrounds can be complex, requiring an understanding of applicable privacy laws, labor laws, position-specific requirements, and operational nuances in different countries. In this educational article, we will explore the ten things you need to know before conducting international background screening.
- Challenges of International Screening: Conducting international screenings poses various challenges. These include increased costs, additional fees for school and employer third-party services, time zone differences, communication difficulties, result interpretation, and most importantly, ensuring compliance with international privacy and data transfer requirements.
- Legal Considerations: Different countries have varying regulations regarding the acquisition of criminal record information. Some countries may limit access to criminal records or allow only limited searches based on the job position or the candidate’s current country of residence. It is essential to understand the legalities surrounding background checks in each specific location, including the client’s location, candidate’s location, record location, and job position.
- Acronyms and Definitions: Familiarize yourself with the acronyms and definitions related to international background screening. Each country may have its own specific terms and requirements, and reports may be provided in the local language. Avoid confusion between the terms “domestic” and “international,” as their meanings can vary depending on the context and the audience.
- Criminal Search Differences: Criminal searches differ significantly between the United States and other countries. In the US, criminal records are generally public and accessible from courthouses and police departments. However, in other countries, criminal records may be obtained from various sources, such as courthouses, police stations, or administrative bodies. Some countries provide Police Certificates or Certificates of Good Behavior, and searches can be conducted at local or nationwide levels.
- Importance of Reference Checks: Reference checks hold significant value in international screening, as certain restrictions that apply in the United States may not be applicable internationally. In the US, companies often provide minimal information about a candidate’s past employment due to legal limitations, but internationally, past employers can provide more detailed insights into a candidate’s job performance. International screenings also include checking directorships held by the candidate.
- ID Verification Process: International screening may involve verifying the authenticity of identification documents, such as passports. This process often includes checking the passport’s code at the bottom and utilizing other methods to ensure the ID is legitimate.
- Understanding Credit Reports: Credit reports are obtained similarly in international screenings and the US, but the information included can vary significantly from country to country. Developing countries may lack centralized credit bureaus like Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, resulting in limited credit information. In such cases, financial institutions may be approached to gather relevant data.
- Determining Search Types: Different types of international searches are available, including Criminal Records, Sanctions, Verifications, Directorship, ID Verification, Civil Records, Credit Reports, Bankruptcy, Motor Vehicle Record searches, and more. Determine which searches are necessary based on your specific requirements.
- Legalities and Country-Specific Requirements: When conducting global screenings, it is crucial to be aware of the privacy, labor, and position-specific laws in the target country. Familiarize yourself with the legal frameworks, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in Canada, Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) in India, Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI) in Japan, and the Privacy Act 198 in Australia.
- Data Transfer Requirements: Importing data from other countries requires compliance with data transfer laws and restrictions such as GDPR.
It is important to note that the preceding is offered as general educational information and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Given the intricacies of the pertinent laws and regulations, consultation with qualified legal counsel is recommended.