International Background Check

International Background Checks: Laws and Regulations

Background screening has become standard employment practice, but standard checks might fail to serve all the needs of modern business. Laws change, and employer policies must adapt. New regulations could modify the parameters of safe-screening practices that identify hiring risks but preserve a company’s reputation for fairness and impartiality.

For example, medical marijuana use has been legalized in more than 12 states, and others are studying the possibility. However, marijuana usage remains a federal crime and might disqualify some employment candidates. Marijuana could be legal in foreign countries, adding additional complications to developing a rational screening policy.

Companies rely on pre-employment background screenings, but they often fail to update their records by investigating on-the-job employees. An employee convicted of a crime involving a serious moral or ethical lapse could present many problems, especially if the worker has delivered outstanding work performance for many years. Another major background check problem involves international screenings.

International Laws Differ

The rise of global marketing means that companies must often establish foreign branch offices or deal with foreign customers and companies regularly. Finding the best talent might require a global search or hiring a local manager to facilitate business. Foreign background checks might be more critical than ever for companies operating blindly in unfamiliar territories.

Companies need to conduct foreign background screenings that comply with local customs, laws, and traditions. The rules could differ substantially from U.S. behavioral standards. Screening procedures might also involve different intelligence gathering techniques. In the United States, investigators check local and federal courts for criminal records, usually in areas evidence proves job applicants have lived. Checking every court in the country would present a logistical impossibility.

European citizens often live and work in numerous countries, complicating the search process. Companies must understand the rules in each country before initiating checks. Some countries might require a national check while others necessitate checking in each city. In the U.K., special agencies provide criminal information and checking locally would be a violation of law.

The following guidelines should help develop a consistent, methodical process for conducting international background checks:

International background checks generate unique protocols and challenges for U.S. companies. Organizations must understand these key differences to implement a coherent screening policy.