Canada relies on immigration as an important part of economic and cultural growth. As 1 in 4 Canadian workers are immigrants, many organizations employ people with a work or address history outside of Canada. Having a background screening policy that clearly identifies which checks are required for each position is a recommended best practice and being able to apply that policy to all new hires, regardless of where their work history is or where they went to school goes a long way towards removing any bias or discrimination in hiring policies.
There are various considerations an organization must be aware of when doing background checks in countries outside of Canada. Depending on the background screening policy, a global background check could require a search of the records in each country that the candidate lived in prior to moving to Canada. Various jurisdictions will have their own regulations around what information is permissible as part of a pre-employment background check. It is essential to understand that, although it is best practice to have the same checks completed on every candidate for the same position, some countries will prevent the standard background searches from being done as a condition of employment. Below are some of the factors that should be considered when doing global background checks.
International Criminal Record Checks
Each country has different requirements for conducting criminal record checks on candidates. In Canada, criminal record checks are a national search, checking the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database for convictions a candidate might have. RCMP policy requires identity verification to be completed, through a process such as LiveVideoID™, before a Criminal Record Check can be done. This is not the case in all countries. For example, Australia has very specific identity verification requirements – candidates must list the combination of IDs they provide as part of their criminal record check consent. In other countries, ID verification may not even be a requirement to conduct criminal record checks. Additional requirements can include specific ID numbers, address history and the candidate’s parents’ names.
Scope of Criminal Record Checks
Not only does each country or territory have different requirements for criminal record checks, but they also have different processes for retrieving someone’s criminal record. Some jurisdictions will offer a national search, where a candidate’s criminal record history will be found, regardless of which city in that country they were convicted in. Other jurisdictions will offer a local search, checking only those locations that the candidate has address history in.
The source of criminal records is also different in each country. Australia, for example, conducts criminal record checks through their federal policy agency. In other countries, it may go through the courts or other government agency, depending on how and where criminal records are housed.
Getting candidates into positions as fast as possible is often one of the top priorities for hiring managers. When planning the onboarding and training of new employees, it is necessary to account for the time it will take the criminal record check to be completed for each candidate. When hiring in Canada, criminal record check results can come back within minutes, but this is not the case for most other countries. Some results are returned within a few days, others can take a few weeks. Knowing the turnaround time for a criminal record check will help manage the candidate’s expectations and make for a smoother hiring process.
Each jurisdiction will have policies in place around what information an employer can use in a hiring decision. In some countries, a criminal record check through the police or other government agency is not legally permissible as part of a background check for pre-employment screening. Other countries might allow only the candidate to obtain and receive information on their criminal history. When conducting a criminal record check through an official government agency is not accessible for an employer, alternative options still exist to help mitigate risk, such as a Global Watchlist Search. This search will determine if an individual is on any government watchlists or sanctions lists, any adverse media published about them, or if they are a politically exposed person. This search also helps an organization maintain compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Client Regulations.
International Education Verifications
Just like international criminal record checks, verifying a candidate’s international education can be a challenge. In Canada, many schools make verify a degree or diploma very straight forward by housing their records in a centralized database or having an easy-to-follow process. Outside of Canada, many schools have different requirements. Some institutions will require a copy of the candidate’s transcript or degree in order to verify that the information is accurate. Other challenges include the lack of electronic records in many schools, making the verification process a lengthy one as a result of the manual work involved.
Global background checks add an additional level of complexity to any organization’s hiring process but incorporating them into the policy doesn’t have to be difficult. By understanding ahead of time that the scope and turnaround time of international background checks vary, and that candidates can be asked to provide a range of different requirements, a company can make pre-employment screening from any country part of their hiring process. Setting candidate and hiring manager expectations from the beginning will make for a positive experience for everyone.
To help manage the international background check process, it is beneficial to work with a third-party screening company, such as ScreeningCanada. Using a background screening provider that has the technology to do the background checks online and keeps up with the global regulations around background checks can take a lot of the inconvenience out of the process for the hiring organization.
For more information on how ScreeningCanada can help your organization with your global background checks, contact a product expert here.
For tips on what to look for when evaluating your current or potential background screening provider, read this checklist.