International Background Check

The first thing you need to know as an employer doing an international background check is that each country has its own labour and privacy laws governing pre-employment screening. Some nations limit or restrict certain information you can obtain on citizens from public records, especially criminal background checks. Others put no restrictions on checks such as verifying identity, education and motor vehicle checks.

Most Asian nations have no restrictions on the essential background checks of their citizens but Russia and Japan for example do restrict some types of background check. Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden and Finland place restrictions on citizen background checks but Denmark doesn’t. Sweden also has strict limits on checking citizens’ criminal records. Exceptions are allowed for employers in childcare and similar roles.  

The United States of America is a unique beast when it comes to international background checks, because unlike most countries with nationwide screening and privacy laws, each of America’s 50 states abide by Federal laws to a certain extent but they also have their own localized laws on district and county levels.

What does an international check involve?

Here’s a list of the most common aspects covered when we perform international background checks for InteliMasters clients, highlighting some of the countries that restrict, limit or outright ban those aspects.

  • ID verification – permitted in most countries
  • Address check – permitted in most countries
  • Local checks – limited in Sweden. Not permitted in Portugal 
  • National checks – limited in Sweden
  • Criminal checks – limited in Poland. Very limited in Sweden
  • Motor vehicle records – permitted in most countries
  • Sex offender register – checks not permitted in Japan, Ukraine, Ireland
  • Employment verification –permitted in most countries
  • Education verification – permitted in most countries
  • Credit check – illegal in China

This list is by no means exhaustive. You should check thoroughly before embarking on an international background check.

Should you do an international directorship check?

In most cases, when filling generic vacancies in the workforce, you won’t need to bother with directorship background checks. The background checks listed above are enough to weed out applicants making false claims about their education and work experience on their resumes. Don’t be surprised if you discover that close to half of your applicants have exaggerated or outright lied on their job applications.  

However, when employing someone for a leading role with a high level of responsibility and public visibility, doing a directorship background check is essential to mitigate the potential of lawsuits and damage to brand reputation of letting an un-vetted individual hold the purse strings.

Be aware of differences for citizens and foreign nationals

Reasons for credit checks include verifying whether a potential employee has ever held or currently holds a company directorship, and whether they have ever claimed bankruptcy. 

Keep in mind too that some countries insist on different processes or exceptions to the rules for citizens and non-citizens. This is important when seeking to employ a workforce comprising native nationals and foreign nationals in your own country or a foreign location such as a satellite office abroad.
For more advice on the most effective ways to carry out an international background check experts at InteliMasters.  We’ll help you decide on the most cost-effective path to navigate your international screening needs.