Vero Hero

International employee screening

About international employment screening

Our international background screening and pre-employment checks have been developed to span the globe. We can help wherever your recruitment and talent acquisition takes you.

We’re one of the UK’s leading providers of international background screening with in-country knowledge and global screening services that are legally and culturally compliant. We utilise our established network of trusted and fully audited suppliers, to deliver specialist country-specific and sector-specific expertise.

What are international background checks?


Typically, international background checks are used during pre-employment screening. As international job candidates become more common, and hiring across international frontiers the norm, international background checks enable employers to make more informed hiring decisions.

Since there’s no global database that allows employers to review information for applicants all in one place, international background checks ensure records are checked in each country where the applicant has lived.

International background checks help your business:

  • Make informed decisions based on reliable results from global databases and sources.
  • Ensure your candidate’s employment history is accurate.
  • Confirm your candidate has the skills and experience required
  • Reduce the risk of a bad hire
  • Ensure a consistent, globally compliant approach to background screening processes

What’s included in an international background check is entirely up to you. We can create bespoke packages to meet your specific needs. That said, the following information is usually included in international checks, where available:

  • Criminal record checks
  • Education verifications
  • Employment and professional references
  • Credit (financial integrity) checks

Why is it paramount to perform international background checks?


There are many reasons why it’s crucial to conduct proper and appropriate background screening for prospective employees: mitigating bad hire risk, ensuring you hire quality candidates who are all they appear to be, and complying with workforce regulations. In the current era of globalised workforces, it’s more important than ever for organisations to protect themselves, their brand reputation and their employees by ensuring they have a well thought out and consistent global screening policy.

Considerations for international background screening

Globalisation and outsourcing have led many organisations around the world to expand their business outside their home market, open offices overseas and recruit more foreign employees. Recruiting foreign nationals presents an additional challenge for companies involved in the global labour market: how to carry out international background checks. Here are some considerations that are vital for companies in need of global background screening:


Are you prepared for the unknown?
No matter how comprehensive the recruitment process is, employing new workers will always carry an aspect of the unknown. Effective employee screening aims to minimise the unknown and mitigate risks associated with recruitment, from verifying an educational degree in China to confirming the validity of a British passport. Reducing risk and gathering intelligence is key.
Screening in a multi-cultural context

Screening applicants from different backgrounds and in different countries requires that HR deal with prospective employees from a multitude of cultures and nationalities, all with their own expectations and regulations. In some countries, it’s not legal to run a third-party criminal check (however, it may be possible to research publicly available sources for evidence of criminal activity or for the candidate to obtain and present their own criminal record certificate). Some cultures even consider it disrespectful to check a person’s past employment.

We can help you identify the legal, social and cultural screening requirements and prohibitions and considerations in each of the countries you intend to hire in. For each country where workers have personal, work and education history, we’ll help you find out if there are existing regulations concerning background screening. It’s important to be aware that failure to meet country specific regulations could result in your business being non-compliant in that country, or leave you open to claims your background screening process is discriminatory.

Consistency across global boundaries
Consistency is crucial when conducting any type of background check. Inconsistencies can be shown as points of discrimination or poor hiring practice and can lead to problems. When you create a global background screening policy, it’s important to ensure the policy is consistent across all locations within the limits of local legislation.
Subcontractor screening
Most employers conduct background checks on new employees globally, but only some screen subcontractors. This opens a significant gap for workers to slip through the background screening process unnoticed. That’s why it’s essential to create a detailed policy the company can follow during all hiring procedures, including that of third-party contractors.
Local data protection laws
It’s of vital importance to know the local data protection laws of the country where you’re hiring and conducting your international background screening. Background screening processes are necessary for the effective and efficient management of talent in an increasingly global and interconnected workforce. However, the various cultural differences and regulatory systems impose very different requirements on how a company can implement a screening policy and process. As a consequence, any company that is setting up, or evolving, their background screening processes will need to adopt a holistic approach which is flexible and intelligent enough to be able to recognise local differences and address those differences efficiently and cost-effectively. It will also require specific knowledge of local law, customs, and enforcement priorities.
GDPR compliance

There are notable considerations organisations need to keep in mind when working with personal data subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Below are just a few of the components of the GDPR that may impact employment background checks:

  • Candidate rights: Candidates have the right to information about the screening process, including receiving a privacy notice providing the individual with insight on how and why their personal data will be processed. Open and transparent, upfront communication to candidates is crucial. This is not a new concept, but the GDPR introduces some new technical requirements.
  • Consent: The GDPR allows an individual the right to withdraw consent at any time and as easily as they provide it. It presumes consent won’t be valid unless separate permissions are obtained for different processing activities. Importantly, obtaining consent in an employment context is difficult and will generally not be relied upon for background screening due to the imbalance of power between the employer and the employee. Separately, however, written permission (not to be confused with consent) should always be obtained from candidates before a background check gets underway. This will ensure you can demonstrate to third parties (such as referees and data providers) that you have been authorised by the candidate to receive their personal data.
  • Object to processing: An individual has the right to restrict and/or object to the processing of their personal data in some circumstances. It’s also possible for an individual to make a general objection to the processing of personal data, even if its accuracy is not contested. When this objection occurs, the processing of the personal data (or background screening) may need to be stopped while the organisation reviews and responds to the individual’s concerns.
  • Data portability: The GDPR codifies a new right for individuals to request that their personal data be transferred from one organisation to another in certain circumstances.
Purpose limitation
Employers engaging a third-party screening provider to conduct an employment background check may wonder if they can use reports and report content for purposes other than reviewing a proposed hire’s work eligibility. It’s essential to know the information contained within these reports can only be utilised for employment screening. Put simply, if you get a report for one reason, you cannot use it for a different purpose.
Availability vs permissibility
Public availability of information is not necessarily an indication of permissible use for employment screening purposes. What is permissible varies on a country by country basis. Local knowledge is of the utmost importance to ensure compliance with local legislation and regulation.
Works council consultation 

A works council is an organisation representing workers which functions as a local/firm-level complement to trade unions but is independent of these, at least in some countries.

Particularly within the European Economic Area (EEA), engaging staff overseas could involve input from a works council. For example, in Germany, if a company decides to implement background check policies, prior consent from the works council is required. This right applies to any formalised and standardised collection of information concerning candidates or employees. By putting in place a works agreement, the business can run individual background checks without further involvement of the works council as long as the rules of the agreement are applied.

Global data storage and cross-border data transfer
A cross-border transfer of personal data occurs when data is accessed or accessible from another country. European law promotes the free flow of data between countries within the EEA while transfers of data outside the EEA are generally restricted. For example, even if the data is stored in the EU but is accessed or accessible from Australia, then there is a data transfer. The law restricts cross-border data transfers outside the EEA because there’s a presumption the law wouldn’t provide an adequate level of protection compared to EU law.
Data transfers in background screening

Due to globalisation, the workforce is becoming more international and mobile. More candidates are living, working or studying in other countries than their original country of residence. And in Europe, the free movement of workers is enshrined in EU law, so it’s common for applicants to have pan-European experience. The overall impact is that companies will frequently make data transfers when conducting background screening on these international candidates.

There are different types of mechanisms companies can utilise to permit data transfers for their background screening programmes:

  • An adequacy decision by the European Commission for cross-border data transfers to certain countries, such as Canada or New Zealand. Or companies that have a Privacy Shield certification. The Privacy Shield was designed by the US Department of Commerce and the European Commission to offer a mechanism that would meet data protection requirements and foster transatlantic commerce, assisting companies in the EU with transferring data to companies in the US.
  • Appropriate safeguards such as standard contractual clauses, approved code of conduct, approved certification mechanism, and Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs)
  • Derogations for specific situations such as explicit consent, necessary for the performance or conclusion of a contract and legal defence
Language capabilities and international expertise
We are well placed to support with the screening of today’s internationally mobile workforce. With extensive global reach and local language capabilities we’re able to support businesses and human resource departments with global job applicant and employee screening policies. And with our detailed research and experience overseas we can help clients ensure they demonstrate compliance with local data protection legislation, employment law and cultural considerations, in each of their hiring locations.
Global ID checks
With identity fraud now accounting for a huge percentage of all fraud committed in the UK, verifying the identity of applicants is an essential part of your pre-employment screening process, ensuring the person you’re recruiting is who they say they are.

Vero – your international employee screening partner


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By outsourcing employee background screening to us, your HR team can be confident your pre-employment checks will be completed quickly, run smoothly and in compliance with the necessary professional and regulatory standards.

If your business is hiring new members of staff internationally or has candidates who have lived or worked abroad, you’ll have access to our language capabilities and an extensive network of international background screening experts. Our specialists will ensure the employment vetting process is rigorous but, at the same time, adheres to local data protection laws and respects cultural norms.

Our implementation team will work with your business to integrate our proprietary technology with your broader recruitment/hiring process – giving you access to an industry-leading candidate background screening solution.

Types of international background checks

Our background screening services are designed to mitigate risk during the hiring process and provide ongoing support throughout the employee lifecycle, from pre-employment screening to in-employment screening and ongoing monitoring. With sector-specific expertise and global reach, we place great importance on understanding the specific risk profile and cultural context of your organisation. Our focus is on ensuring your business can achieve legal and regulatory compliance by implementing an effective and consistent approach to pre-employment screening and related services.

International criminal record checks


In the UK, there are three different types of criminal-record checks (basic, standard or enhanced). What’s included in the check depends on which one you run but may consist of details of a candidate’s convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings, if they have any. The more comprehensive a criminal-record check is, the tighter the restriction on who can access it. For international criminal-background checks, the availability, sources, format and accessibility of criminal records will be subject to local variations. We can guide you regarding the type, suitability and availability of these checks on a country by country basis.

Global financial integrity and credit checks


An international credit/financial integrity check covers the same ground as a UK credit check — publicly available data on bankruptcy, insolvency, and civil litigation — but draws on international information sources. The availability of information varies from country to country, but Vero are able to access the best sources in hundreds of jurisdictions, through credit reporting agencies and partners.

Local employment history references & CV verification


When screening a candidate, we’ll obtain written references from verified official sources, for instance, the candidate’s previous employer’s HR department. A large percentage of our staff speak one or more languages, so we’ll typically make these requests in local language, if appropriate, when contacting overseas organisations. And we’ll always take the time to talk the referee through the process to make sure they understand what we are asking for, why and on whose behalf. Once we get a response, we’ll make the written references available to you using our secure platform. The amount of information referees are able to disclose will depend on both company policy and local legislation but, at the very least, they’ll verify the candidate’s job title and dates of employment.

We’ll also compare the candidate’s screening questionnaire against the CV presented at the interview stage. By cross-referencing the candidate’s documents, we identify any anomalies or discrepancies between the information they presented at interview, versus the information they put down on the screening questionnaire.

In-country education / professional qualification checks:


We’ll check the candidate’s academic record for both qualifications and attendance dates by approaching the relevant student records department directly. We’ll also make sure the institution they obtained the qualification from is legitimate. Wherever possible, we’ll obtain verification at source. If that isn’t possible, we ask the candidate to provide their certificates.

Global media searches


Adverse media searches are searches of UK and international English-language media sources. We use a specially devised search string to trawl more than 40,000 different sources for any articles which reference to the recruit/job applicant in a negative context. We’re also able to offer local language media searches in 25 languages and 120+ locations.

Global compliance and sanctions checks


A compliance database check is a search made against an extensive range of UK and international government, law enforcement, regulatory and financial databases. This background check is designed to reveal potential links to bribery, money laundering, politically exposed persons, (alleged) terrorism, corruption, fraud or miscellaneous risk.

International directorship checks


An international directorship search covers the same ground as a UK directorship search, and looks to identify potential conflicts of interest, but it draws on international information sources. Where available, we’ll check for records of any director disqualifications as well, although it’s important to note the availability of directorship and disqualified directorship information varies from country to country.

Electronic ID document checks


Using ID document check, we validate identity documents such as the candidate’s passport or driving licence. We do this using cross-matching algorithms and the job applicant/candidate’s personal information.

Local language screening questionnaires


To ensure your international candidates have the best possible screening experience, we’re able to offer our secure online screening questionnaire in a number of different languages. We can also discuss any additional languages requirements as part of our implementation process with you.