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Pre-employment Screening is a vital yet overlooked function in an organisation. Many organisations scale their businesses globally and into multiple countries simultaneously. The main reason as to why many business may opt to not run prior background screening on their employees is because they are more inclined to believe that the potential employee is telling the truth. Another reason is that businesses mat not be aware of how to run these checks in line with the legal requirements of their country.

It is incredibly important to be able stay on top of the different legal requirements of background checks across the globe as it helps to comply with and set standards which can help businesses go further in their career span. So what exactly are the different pre-employment screening measures across the globe? Consider this article a handy set of global guides covering the basics that companies need to know.

Background Screening

How do you know the candidate you just offered a role to is the ideal candidate? Are you 100% sure you know that everything they’re telling you is the truth? 90%? They showed you a diploma, how do you know it’s not photoshopped? Did you follow the correct laws during your background checks process? Employee Background Checks and Pre-employment Screening are vital to avoid horror stories and taboo tales that occur within HR, your business or even your brand – simply investing in sufficient pre-employment screening can save you time, money and heartbreak.

However handling employment law compliance in-house can be challenging. We are a leading worldwide provider, specialised in local and international employment background screening, including pre-employment screening and post-employment background checks. We have used our experience and knowledge to bring you this article, which covers 61 key jurisdictions mandatory  background checks vs what it is allowed.

At CRI, our Employee Background Checks as well as Pre-employment Screening can help to reduce the risk of hiring an employee who could cause irrevocable damage to the firm, reversing the impact of the time and money invested into the company to brand their products and services. A singular bad hire can cause your organisation a loss of revenue and reputation – all factors which can lead to the failure of a business. Pre-employment Screening checks aid in avoiding such a situation as well as helps businesses gain a competitive edge through hiring competent and qualified people.

CHECK OUT OUR EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND SCREENING SOLUTIONS  & DOWNLOAD BROCHURE

Pre-employment Screening in Oceania

To summarise, Oceania audits its companies frequently thus allowing for different measures to be taken to ensure compliance in line with legal requirements. The process also relies on the provision of consent from the potential hires. See the breakdown below.

NEW ZEALAND

  • Law: 1) Required in some industries, e.g. childcare; 2) Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: Criminal, reference and credit reference checks are permissible but are subject to the candidate’s consent.

AUSTRALIA

  • Law: Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: Permitted with the candidate’s consent and subject to relevant discrimination laws. Offers of employment may be subject to pre-employment screening checks including  criminal record checks or medical examination if necessary to determine fitness for a particular job.

Pre-employment Screening in The Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Immigration compliance is prevalent in the laws across MENA regarding employee background checks however, in respect to what is allowed in line with the legal guidance varies from country to country. This may be due to the differing laws either covering a broader or slimmer spectrum on the scale for employee background checks. See the breakdown below.

ISRAEL

  • Law: Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: Pre-employment Screening such as reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent. Other types of checks are subject to restrictions (including restrictions on criminal records and credit checks) and must be directly related to the position.

TUNISIA

  • Law:  Every company must require its employees to undergo a medical examination and, in particular, a medical examination relating to the employment. The results of the medical examinations belong to Occupational Medicine. It is obligatory for any company governed by the Labour Code to have an Occupational Medicine service in place, whatever its number of employees.
  • Allowed: Employers may ask employees to provide information relating to criminal records, subject to the employee’s prior consent. There are no legal requirements or restrictions on pre-employment screening measures such as education checks or reference checks. In principle, the CV contains the necessary education and work-related information, and the employer can request a copy of any diplomas or certificates of work or internship.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • Law: Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE – formerly, the Ministry of Labour), or relevant free zone authority, and the immigration authorities before they can be hired on local employment contracts. The UAE authorities’ background checking and screening level vary according to an individual’s nationality. As part of this approval process, since January 2016, employers registered with MOHRE are now required to submit a completed offer letter, signed by both parties, using MOHRE’s standard form offer letter. The terms of the employee’s employment contract cannot then differ from the terms of the offer letter.
  • Allowed: Employers are not able to obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions, and in most cases, the employees themselves will be required to provide this information.

BAHRAIN

  • Law: Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the LMRA and Ministry of Interior before hiring on local employment contracts. The level of background checking and screening carried out by Bahrain authorities varies according to the nationality and proposed position of an individual.
  • Allowed: Generally, employers cannot obtain the same level of information from background checks and pre-employment screening as they can work in other jurisdictions and, in most cases, the employees themselves are required to provide this information. A Certificate of Good Conduct from the Criminal Investigation Directorate is the most commonly requested document.

SAUDI ARABIA

  • Law: Immigration compliance for all non-GCC employees.
  • Allowed: Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (e.g., certain finance positions) and are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are standard and acceptable with applicant consent.

MOROCCO

  • Law: Immigration compliance. A criminal record check required for certain limited occupations (e.g., solicitors and chartered accountants).
  • Allowed: Identity and personal information checks. Education checks. Prior employment checks.

OMAN

  • Law: Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Ministry of Manpower and immigration authorities before hiring on local employment contracts. The level of background screening and screening carried out by the authorities varies according to the individual’s nationality.
  • Allowed: Employers may not obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions. In most cases, the employees themselves will be required to provide this information.

QATAR

  • Law: Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Interior before hiring on local employment contracts. The Qatar authorities’ level of background screening varies on several factors, including the individuals’ nationality and whether the individual is a local hire or recruited from abroad. Insofar as we are aware, local nationals are not subject to the same level of checks as foreign nationals recruited by a Qatari entity from abroad. In some cases (depending on the nature of the role), as part of the work permit/residence visa process, employees will be required to provide an attested copy of their degree/high school certificates to the Ministry of Labour.
  • Allowed: Generally, you cannot obtain the same level of information from background checks and pre-employment Screening as you can in other jurisdictions – employees themselves will be required to provide this information. For example, Criminal record: the individual can only obtain police checks or Certificates of Good Conduct from the Criminal Evidences and Information Department (CEID). To obtain the Good Conduct Certificate, the individual, if a foreign national, may also be required to obtain police clearance from his home country and provide an attested copy of this policy clearance to the CEID. Employment: There is a provision in the Labour Law for employers to provide all employees with a certificate of service if requested, so candidates should be asked to verify their employment history.

KUWAIT

  • Law: The Kuwait authorities’ level of background checking and pre-employment Screening varies according to the individual’s nationality. However, foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) and immigration authorities before hired. 
  • Allowed: Employers can not obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions – employees will be required to provide this information themselves.

Pre-employment Screening in Asia

The legislation regarding background checks across Asia are incredibly diverse with some of the ‘allowed’ measures requiring candidates consent in some countries and not in others. There are different protection acts that are in place in each individual country which contributes to its diverse laws and measures. See the breakdown below.

CHINA

  • Law: Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: Reference and education checks are standard, even without the applicant’s consent. There is no restriction on criminal record checks.

TAIWAN, REPUBLIC OF CHINA

  • Law: Work permit and residency compliance.
  • Allowed: Non-criminal record certificates, reference and education checks are permissible with applicant consent, although some restrictions apply.

JAPAN

  • Law:  Generally not required.
  • Allowed: Criminal background checks are not prohibited but are discouraged by the labour authorities. You need a strong justification for such checks. In addition, conducting a criminal background check in Japan is difficult because records are not publicly available. Reference and education checks may be completed with consent, but third parties who receive such requests do not always cooperate. Some employers require a health check at hiring, but employers should not conduct HIV testing and gene diagnosis unless there is employee consent and a solid and legitimate reason.

VIETNAM

  • Law:  Before hiring foreign employees to work, as an employer you must obtain written approval from the provincial People’s Committee through the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA). Possessing a valid work permit issued by the provincial labour authorities is a compulsory condition for foreign citizens to work in Vietnam, except where an exemption applies. Legal sanctions for the employer of a foreign citizen without a work permit include fines, and the authorities may even suspend a business’ operations. A foreign citizen working in Vietnam without a work permit risks deportation. 
  • Allowed:  Employers may request that their employees provide information relating to the execution of an employment contract, such as full name, age, gender, residence address, education level, occupational skills, and health conditions. There are no regulations on obligatory pre-hire checks, including pre-hire reference checks, pre-hire criminal checks or pre-hire credit checks, in the Labour Code 2012. However, specific regulations exist in more heavily regulated fields, such as aviation, security and medicines. Questions about an applicant’s past, health and criminal record are generally permissible in Vietnam.

INDIA

  • Law: There is no statutory requirement on an employer to carry out pre-hire background checks, except for employment in specific sectors such as mining, where medical checks are mandatory before employment. In the case of foreign citizens, the visa stamp or sticker in the employee’s passport will include the name of the employer, and the employer will be required to provide an undertaking to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) on behalf of the employee to register the employee with the FRRO. Therefore, the employer should undertake a basic immigration check at a minimum. In addition, considering that termination of employment is not straightforward in India, it is common for employers to verify the professional and educational qualifications of the candidate.
  • Allowed: Background checks for applicants may be conducted as long as they comply with the fundamental right to privacy, which means that applicant/employee consent should be obtained. Establishments usually have a pre-hire background check policy in place for new hires. Background screening is generally done for education qualification verification, previous employment status, address verification, criminal background verification, reference verification and applicable database verification.

MALAYSIA

  • Law:   Immigration compliance for foreign nationals.
  • Allowed: Pre-employment background screening is not regulated, and the practice varies from one industry to other. Employers should obtain the individual’s consent if the pre-hire checks require accessing, collecting or processing the individual’s personal data to ensure compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

THAILAND

  • Law:  Visa and work permit compliance. Age of the employee (the employee must not be younger than 15).
  • Allowed: The use, publication or distribution of any information obtained requires consent from the candidate who has given such information. Suppose the information is regarded as personal data under the Personal Data Protection Act BE 2562 (2019) (“PDPA”). In that case, the employer who collects uses and/or discloses such information must notify the purposes of such collection, use and/or disclosure before receiving consent from the data subject-employee. An applicant can be asked to have a medical examination. However it can only be done once a conditional offer of employment has been made. And the candidate’s consent should be obtained. before any criminal or education checks are carried out or employer references are sought, the candidate’s consent should be obtained.

PHILIPPINES

  • Law:  There are no regulatory requirements for pre-hire, subject to compliance with immigration laws for the employment of foreign expatriates.
  • Allowed: the labour law leaves it to the management prerogative of employers to provide for pre-hire checks, including but not limited to a National Statistics Office (NSO)-issued birth certificate, a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, a transcript of records for education verification and previous employer references.

SINGAPORE

  • Law: Immigration checks to ensure that the relevant work pass required is obtained for the prospective candidate.
  • Allowed: 1) Offers of employment are often made subject to; a) the prospective candidate having obtained the relevant work pass; and b) the company satisfying the advertising requirements under the Tripartite Fair Consideration Framework and independently determining that the candidate is the best candidate out of all the applicants; 2) Where necessary, the obtaining of satisfactory references and When appropriate, background and criminal record checks; 3) Employers may also require the prospective candidate to undergo a medical examination and produce evidence of qualifications. 4) Pre-hiring checks must comply with Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (No. 26 of 2012) (PDPA). Generally, employers are required to notify applicants of the purposes for which their personal data is being used in connection with the management and termination of employment and obtain their consent where collecting, using or disclosing their personal data. However, relevant exceptions to the PDPA notification and consent requirements include where the information is publicly available and where the data collected is for evaluative purposes (e.g., to evaluate employee suitability for the role) or for investigative purposes. In particular, there is no requirement under the law to ask for personal identification (NRIC) numbers for job applications. However, the employer would be required to know if an employee is holding an NRIC to determine if a work pass is required.

SOUTH KOREA

  • Law:  Immigration checks are generally required.
  • Allowed: Under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), to conduct background checks beyond the scope generally required to enter into an employment agreement, consent must be obtained from the applicant. Separate consent must be obtained if sensitive information such as an employee’s health information or criminal records is checked.

MYANMAR

  • Law: None.
  • Allowed: Employers may request their employees to provide information relating to the execution of an employment contract, such as full name, age, gender, residence address, educational level, occupational skills, and health conditions. Employers may also request a recommendation letter from a local administration office or a previous employer and may request a criminal background check from the relevant township police station when an employee submits an employment application.

Pre-employment Screening in The Americas

Although verification is a recommended procedure across the majority of The America’s, the vast majority of the countries do not require it by law and leading countries such as Turkey and the USA do not have any written legislations in place for these procedures. See the breakdown below.

TURKEY

  • Law: None.
  • Allowed: 1) Pre-hire checks (e.g., criminal and credit reference or reference and education checks) are only permissible with the applicant’s consent. 2) Depending on the position of the employee, pre-hire checks are standard.

VENEZUELA

  • Law: None. However, foreign employees must have a labour (TR-L) visa to work in Venezuela. Therefore, an immigration check is recommended.
  • Allowed: Employers are entitled to use any information about an applicant that is in the public domain, including information available on social media, for verification purposes. Employers may also conduct background checks covering a candidate’s education, family and other information at any stage of the hiring process. This includes asking candidates directly for references or contacting previous employers to check references. Information collected must be relevant to the position being applied for. Employers should avoid the collection of information that may be considered offensive or discriminatory. Protected characteristics from discrimination include sex, race, religion, marital status, pregnancy, political beliefs, sexual preferences, social class, union affiliation, physical disability or criminal background. Specifically, requiring criminal records or a criminal background certificate from candidates and requiring female applicants to undergo medical tests to determine pregnancy are prohibited. HIV testing is permissible when the position applied for involves matters of public health.

USA

  • Law:  None, except in certain regulated industries, which may require fingerprinting, background checks, motor vehicle histories, and/or drug/alcohol screening.
  • Allowed: Laws vary from state to state. Reference and education checks are common. Criminal background and credit checks generally may be performed in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local law, with an increasing number of state and local jurisdictions limiting criminal history questions on applications and permitting such checks only following a conditional job offer. Medical examinations and drug and alcohol screening are generally permissible if conducted post-offer and in accordance with applicable law.

BRAZIL

  • Law:  Immigration compliance, a valid ID and a pre-hire medical examination are required.
  • Allowed: Education, prior employment and basic personal information (proof of identity; and residential address) are accepted in certain circumstances. Criminal checks are limited to particular circumstances.

COLOMBIA

  • Law: Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: 1) Pre-employment background checks are permitted, and it is common to use specialised companies for these services. All background screening checks can include educational history and professional qualifications, employment history, civil litigation, consumer credit checks, criminal and fiscal records, OFAC/Global Sanctions Lists, a driver’s license check and passport/ID validation, among others; 3) On the initiation of the recruitment process, the applicant must grant express written consent to conduct background checks; 4) Under Colombian law, there are few restrictions on an employer’s right to request substantiating documents and to confirm the information provided by the applicant (e.g., regarding health conditions, pregnancy, drug use, family situations and political tendency).

CHILE

  • Law: None. However, an immigration check recommended ensuring the employee has the right to work legally in Chile.
  • Allowed: In general, employers are permitted to check education and prior employment records. Employers can check financial history, health, drug/alcohol usage, and criminal records in very limited circumstances when such information is directly relevant to the position for which the candidate is considered. No background checks can be based on any status protected by the Chilean anti-discrimination statute, including checks based on union membership or political affiliation.

CANADA

  • Law: 1) All employers should verify that individual employees are legally entitled to work in Canada by obtaining the employee’s Social Insurance Number (SIN), but only after a conditional offer of employment is made. Certain employers may also require criminal records checks through a Canadian Police Information Check (CPIC). In some industries, a more comprehensive check may be required by law (e.g., for persons who work with vulnerable individuals such as children); 2) Criminal records checks should not be done without the prospective employee’s consent and, in any event, it is recommended that a conditional offer of employment be made before a criminal record check is performed; 3) Where the employer requires a criminal record check, the prospective employee may have grounds to claim discrimination if a decision not to hire is based on:
    • A conviction of a provincial offence revealed by check.
    • A criminal offence for which a pardon has been granted or
    • A criminal conviction is unrelated to the individual’s employment.
  • Allowed: Verifying references, past employment, and education is common and permissible, provided that:
    • The applicant has consented and;
  • The employer conducts the verification in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner.
  • Caution must be exercised in undertaking more detailed background checks to ensure that the scope of the detailed background check is not excessive and that proper consent has been obtained in accordance with applicable privacy laws.
    • Credit checks are generally permissible when the candidate’s credit history is relevant to the position (e.g., positions involving handling money or involving financial decision making). Credit checks must be conducted in accordance with applicable consumer protection legislation, which requires that:
    • Consent is obtained from the individual and
  • A proper process is followed when the credit check is undertaken.
    • It is recommended that a conditional offer of employment is made before a credit check is performed.

ARGENTINA

  • Law:  1) Pre-hire medical checks are required pursuant to resolutions issued by the Occupational Risk Superintendence. If an employee does not complete a pre-hire medical check, the employee will be deemed to have begun work in optimal health; therefore, any injuries or diseases that may arise in the future will be deemed to have happened during the employment relationship; 2) Criminal record checks are required for foreign employees to obtain a work visa.
  • Allowed: Where criminal checks are not required for work visa purposes, they are only permissible – and are common in practice – for specific roles (e.g., high-level managerial positions). Reference and educational checks are common and permissible, provided applicant consent was previously obtained.

MEXICO

  • Law:  Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: 1) Under Mexican law, there are few restrictions on an employer’s right to request substantiating documents and confirm the information provided by the applicant regarding their education, health condition, finances, drug use, family situation and criminal background. Employers have broad flexibility regarding the questions that may be asked during the application process; 2) Criminal background checks are permissible; however, only the employees in question themselves can request such information from the corresponding authority. Credit checks are not common in Mexico as there is no specific procedure established by law for employers to obtain credit information. Pre-employment Screening measures such as reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

CZECH REPUBLIC

  • Law: Immigration compliance. Entry health check. Where required by law, criminal record check or pregnancy information (e.g., where a pregnant employee cannot perform certain work).
  • Allowed: 1) Reference and education checks are common and permissible. Criminal records and credit reference checks may be requested if justified by the specific nature of the work performed and subject to the proportionality principle; 2) Subject to the same conditions, the employer may also request information concerning pregnancy, financial and family affairs of the applicant.

HONG KONG, SAR

  • Law:  Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: Any data collected as a result of pre-employment screening must comply with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), candidates must be expressly informed of collecting, using, and disclosing any personal data related to them by their employer or prospective employer. Asking a candidate to sign a Personal Information Collection Statement will assist an employer in complying with these obligations. A candidate may be asked to undergo a medical examination, but only after the employer has made them a conditional offer of employment. If criminal checks are carried out, an employer must be careful not to dismiss, exclude or display prejudice against the candidate based on any spent conviction – that is, where a person was previously convicted of an offence for which they were not sentenced to imprisonment for more than three months or given a fine of more than HKD10,000. The person has not been convicted of any other offence for at least three years.

INDONESIA

  • Law: legislation is silent thus, there are no requirements or prohibitions on background checks.
  • Allowed: All ethical pre-employment screening measures and background checks.

PERU

  • Law: There are no mandatory pre-employment checks however specific companies that perform high-risk activities (e.g., in the mining industry) must perform occupational medical exams on their candidates. 
  • Allowed: Immigration checks are highly recommended for foreign employees. Employers are permitted to check candidates’ education and prior employment history. Employers may also conduct (i) financial checks for jobs that involve handling money; (ii) drug or alcohol usage checks, but only if the individual has a job where the use of drugs could threaten the safety of others; and (iii) a criminal record affidavit for candidates and criminal records checks after the first interview.

Pre-employment Screening in Africa

This continent allows for criminal records, references and educational background checks to be completed across all countries. The requirement by law focuses heavily on immigration compliance. See the breakdown below.

ANGOLA

  • Law:  Immigration compliance and pre-hire medical examinations.
  • Allowed: Pre-employment screening checks such as reference and education checks are permissible.

MOZAMBIQUE

  • Law: Immigration compliance for foreign employees. Foreign employees must have a valid work permit and a residence permit to work in Mozambique. In general, pre-hire checks are not mandatory, but in some areas of activity (e.g., mining, oil and gas), prior medical examinations are required.
  • Allowed: Reference and education checks are permissible, and candidates may be requested to provide a certificate of criminal records.

NIGERIA

  • Law:  1) Immigration compliance; 2) Medical examination for manual and clerical workers.
  • Allowed: Background checks for education, prior employment and basic personal information such as proof of identity and residential address are accepted in Nigeria. In practice, the prospective employee’s consent is sought before such pre-employment screening checks are carried out.

UGANDA

  • Law: Immigration compliance for all non-nationals.
  • Allowed: Permissible Criminal and credit reference checks are permissible. Reference and education checks and medical examinations are common and permissible.

KENYA

  • Law:  1) Education qualification checks and referee follow-up for hires; 2) Criminal record clearance checks; 3) A locally registered entity to support the application. For an entity that already employs foreign expats, whether the ratio of 1:3-7 in favour of Kenyans is loosely observed.
  • Allowed: The Department of Immigration Services, in conjunction with both the local and international security agencies, can conduct background checks on all applicants.

Pre-employment Screening in Europe

Candidates’ consent is also a vital factor on what is allowed in European countries – a large selection of the countries only allow these checks to be carried out in regards to specific job roles and data handling. Emphasis is largely placed on Identity verification and criminal checks across Europe. See the full breakdown below.

ITALY

  • Law: Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (e.g., certain finance positions) and subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

SOUTH AFRICA

  • Law:  Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: It is permissible to carry out background checks. A criminal record check may only be carried out if the candidate provides a copy of their fingerprints. Furthermore, in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPIA), which came into effect on July 1, 2020, consent is required to conduct a criminal record check. The National Credit Act, 2005 prohibits the release of credit reports “unless directed by the instructions of the consumer.” Furthermore, the purposes for which credit reports may be used are limited. They should only be used for considering a candidate for employment in a position that requires trust and honesty and entails the handling of cash or finances. It also provides that the consumer’s consent should be obtained before requesting the credit report for this purpose. A medical check requires the consent of the individual. While consent is not required to conduct other checks such as a check on qualifications, references and employment history, it is advisable to obtain consent. Furthermore, in terms of POPIA, the applicant should be notified about the background checks that will be carried out.

AUSTRIA

  • Law:  Immigration compliance.
  • Allowed: Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (e.g., certain finance positions) and subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

IRELAND

  • Law: Immigration compliance. Criminal record checks only for those who work with children, with vulnerable adults and in security.
  • Allowed: Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

 HUNGARY

  • Law: Immigration compliance is required. Criminal records are also checked concerning certain occupations, such as judges, attorneys, public servants and auditors.
  • Allowed: 1) Apart from the above, a check of criminal records is only allowed if it provides important information with respect to the given position or work to be carried out; 2) Further checks (e.g., education and references) are also permitted, but may only be carried out if aiming to obtain important information to enter into the employment.

DENMARK

  • Law: Employers are responsible for ensuring that all employees have a valid residence and work permit when employing third-country citizens. For any occupations involving work with children under the age of 15, an employer must ask for a record that specifies whether the employee is fit to work with children. The employee must give consent before collecting the record.
  • Allowed: An employer may ask a potential employee to produce a copy of their criminal record if necessary and proportionate to the job. Information on a potential employee’s health may be requested only if this is of significant importance to performing the job in question. Concerning educational background and activities, data from the application may, as a rule, be verified by the employer. It is common in Denmark to issue job references. Applicants may be asked to provide contact data of former employers. Credit checks are allowed for employees in special fiduciary positions and if there is a legitimate purpose for the check.

FINLAND

  • Law: Under the Employer Sanction Directive and the Finnish Employment Contract Act, employers must ensure that non-European Economic Area nationals comply with residency and immigration requirements, or the employer may face fines for non-compliance. Criminal records must be checked when working with children.
  • Allowed: For tasks other than working with children, credit history and criminal records may be checked only in situations where the law requires and follows the procedure stipulated in the law. Medical checks may be used to check employees’ ability to work. Reference and education checks are common and carried out with the applicant’s consent.

FRANCE

  • Law: If the individual to be employed is a foreigner, the employer must check the validity of their work permit. As of January 2017, with some exceptions, employers must set up a preventive and informative medical assessment to take place within three months of the commencement of employment, unless the employee has been subject to such visit during the previous five years.
  • Allowed: Pre-hire checks may be permissible to data privacy laws and if the information is related to the job position. Reference checks are permissible, provided the applicant is informed. A criminal record check is permissible for specific job positions only (e.g., those involving the handling of cash)

GERMANY

  • Law: Immigration compliance. For certain employment positions (e.g., public services, education sector, medical sector and security services), statement of good standing (Führungszeugnis) from the Federal Central Register (Bundeszentralregister).
  • Allowed: Requiring a credit reference check or a statement of good standing is only permissible for roles justifying interest in such information and is subject to proportionality requirements.

PORTUGAL

  • Law: Immigration compliance. For certain roles (e.g., security guards and employees who work with children), a criminal record check certificate. Pre-hire medical examinations.
  • Allowed: Reference and education checks are permissible. The employer may not request a candidate for employment to provide information related to their private life (including criminal record checks), health condition or pregnancy, unless such information is strictly necessary and relevant to evaluate the person’s aptitude for the performance of the employment or when the nature of the professional activity justifies such request, and the reasons for the request are provided, in writing, to the candidate. Tests and medical examinations (other than the legally required pre-hire medical examinations), including drug tests, may only be requested if aimed at the protection and safety of the employee or third parties or when the nature of the activity so requires. The employer must inform the employee in writing of the grounds for the request. Requesting that an employee or applicant submit to a pregnancy test or medical examination is strictly forbidden

SWITZERLAND

  • Law: Immigration compliance. Criminal and credit reference checks for specific roles (e.g., attorneys at law and bank executives).
  • Allowed: Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible if they are relevant to the proposed work and are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant’s consent.

SWEDEN

  • Law: No pre-hire checks required in general.
  • Allowed: On immigration compliance. References and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent. Employers may ask for criminal records, and for specific roles (e.g., childcare positions), it is required. Note, however, that criminal records for pre-hire checks normally may not be processed electronically due to data privacy restrictions.

UKRAINE

  • Law: For non-Ukrainian citizens, employers must check for compliance with immigration requirements and obtain work permits (unless the employer or employee falls under a special category, as discussed in the Immigration section below). Employees must provide a valid ID and, except for first-time employment, their labour book. On a case-by-case basis, employers can request employees to provide documents confirming education (speciality, qualification), health status, etc., to confirm compliance with requirements established for a specific profession or position or the work performed. For example: to be employed as an officer responsible for labour protection, an individual shall provide the employer with a certificate that proves the employee’s knowledge in the area of labour protection; or if the job description provides that the employee’s duties will include operation of a vehicle, the employer is entitled to require a driving license.
  • Allowed: An employer cannot require candidates or employees to provide additional documents/information not specifically required by law as a condition precedent to the employment. The ability to conduct any pre-hire or post-hire checks is limited by labour and personal data protection laws. In most cases, checks not expressly required by law are possible only with written consent.

SPAIN

  • Law: Immigration compliance. For certain roles (e.g., security guards), the employee must provide the potential employer with a certificate proving that they do not have a criminal record. These certificates cannot be stored by the employer nor transferred to any other entity.
  • Allowed: Reference and education checks are permissible with the applicant’s consent only. Most companies and institutions prefer to deliver the information directly to the applicant to supply it to the potential new employer directly and personally.

POLAND

  • Law: Immigration compliance: requirement to obtain a work permit for foreigners originating from non-EU and non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries. A statutory list of so-called regulated activities to be performed only by persons holding specific licenses or possessing certain types of education and professional experience. Initial medical examinations to confirm that no health reasons are barring the person’s employment in a certain position. However, there are certain exceptions – for example, where a medical certificate was issued during previous employment in the same position.
  • Allowed: Certain limited types of personal data may be requested from the candidate as specified by the Polish Labour Code and other applicable provisions. These include name and surname, date of birth, contact details, education, professional qualifications and work history. The employer may also request that a candidate provide personal data not listed in the Polish Labour Code; however, additional data processing requires the candidate’s consent. The employer may collect and process sensitive data such as data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political views, religious or ideological beliefs, trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data to uniquely identify a person and data on health, sexuality or sexual orientation only if a candidate provides this at their own initiative. Information on criminal convictions may be requested only if separate statutory provisions require the obligation to provide this information.

SLOVAK REPUBLIC

  • Law: Immigration compliance. Criminal record checks in cases in which integrity is required based on the nature of the work or pursuant to special regulations (e.g., public services). A preventive work-related medical examination is required for the assessment of the medical fitness for the work of a juvenile employee and certain categories of work.
  • Allowed: An employer may request that a previously employed person submit references and a certificate of employment. An employer may request only information relevant to the work to be carried out for an individual applying for their first employment. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant’s consent.

UK

  • Law: Immigration compliance. For certain limited occupations (e.g., solicitors or chartered accountants), a criminal records check.
  • Allowed: Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (e.g., certain finance positions) and are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

ROMANIA

  • Law: A request for a medical certificate/check can only be made to ascertain the applicant’s ability to perform the work in question. The employer must meet the cost of the medical check. Immigration compliance also needs to be considered, where relevant.
  • Allowed: Reference checks concerning an applicant’s length of employment and work performed for former employers are common and permissible, although the applicant should be informed in advance. Processing any data regarding criminal records is generally prohibited.

BELGIUM

  • Law: Immigration compliance (work permit and/or residence permit).
  • Allowed: Criminal checks are only permissible under exceptional circumstances for specific roles and subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

LUXEMBOURG

  • Law: 1) Immigration compliance; 2) Medical check: When recruiting, an employer must ensure that the employee undergoes a medical check with a practitioner of the occupational health service to which the employer is affiliated. The practitioner will decide if the employee’s health allows him or her to fill the position in question. This medical check is compulsory, irrespective of the nature of the work (i.e., office, industrial or construction work, etc.). In certain cases, the employer must also organise regular medical examinations during employment.
  • Allowed: Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant’s consent. They are compliant with data protection and privacy provisions and linked to the nature of the position. For human resources management and recruitment, the employer may request that an applicant provide a criminal record. In all cases, if the employer makes the decision not to hire the job applicant, the criminal record will have to be immediately destroyed. If the job applicant is hired, the employer will only be entitled to retain the criminal records for one month. 

NORWAY

  • Law: Immigration compliance. For certain occupations (e.g., lawyers, accountants), a certificate of good conduct is required.
  • Allowed: 1) Criminal check is only permissible for specific occupations where there is the legal basis for obtaining a certificate of good conduct; 2) Reference checks and education checks are permissible with the applicant’s consent.

NETHERLANDS

  • Law: Immigration compliance. For certain limited provisions (e.g., judges, lawyers and advocates), an applicant must provide a recent copy proving that they have no criminal record that should prevent them from performing their duty (verklaring omtrent gedrag).
  • Allowed: Reference checks are common and permissible with the applicant’s consent. Other checks are only permissible in limited situations.

RUSSIA

  • Law: Immigration compliance, military compliance (when serving in the military) and in rare situations, a criminal record check.
  • Allowed: Criminal and credit reference checks are are allowed for specific roles (e.g., finance positions and educational institutions) but are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant’s consent.

Wherever you do business, CRI can help you find solutions and manage risk concerning your compliance, due diligence and employee background screening (including Pre-employment Screening) challenges and objectives. While this article provides high-level guidance, we encourage you to contact CRI Group to perform Background Investigations and due diligence.  

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