Overseas Applicants

Employers are increasingly faced with the challenge of screening applicants who originate or have lived and / or worked outside the United Kingdom for a period of time and any convictions obtained outside of the U.K. will generally not appear on a disclosure certificate.

To seek information regarding any such convictions, you will need to ascertain the applicant’s address history (i.e. which countries have they been resident in and when) and make contact with the relevant foreign office.

CRBS is unable to assist organisations seeking to obtain details of overseas criminal record checks and does not accept any responsibility for the content or accuracy of information contained on external websites. The current arrangement of “free” disclosures for volunteers operating in the voluntary sector does not extend to seeking; obtaining or translating overseas convictions.

Where the post being recruited meets the criteria for a disclosure, a check via CRBS should be obtained as a matter of good practice, even if the applicant claims never to have lived in the UK before.

In addition, a U.K. national may have lived abroad for the last 5 or more years and he/she, as a consequence, may not be required by the current Disclosure application form to provide details of a U.K. address.

It is important that employers consider the following when requesting a criminal record check from overseas:

  • The criminal record may be returned in a different language and you will need to make provision to have them translated (there will likely be costs associated with this also);
  • What might be judged as a criminal activity in one country may not be a crime in another or in the U.K.;
  • Some offences in the U.K. may not constitute a criminal offence in another country;
  • The quality and information provided will differ from country to country for example, some will have centralised records whilst others may only retain local files;
  • Overseas criminal record certificates can take a variety of formats such as ‘certificates of good conduct’ or ‘non-criminal conviction certificates’;
  • The accuracy and authenticity of the information typically depends on how certificate is obtained;
    It is important that employers inform prospective employees that references will be independently verified.
  • Confirmation of dates can be cross referenced with passports, work permits and by contacting embassies and consulates as appropriate.
  • Do not rely solely on the ‘face value’ of the information provided by the applicant, always try to independently confirm details if possible e.g. certificates / places of education, candidate’s previous employer’s and line manager’s contact details.

Assistance with Authenticating I.D. Documents

One of the roles CRBS Trusted Partners and signatories undertake is the verification of an applicant’s identification. Ensuring the documents you are presented with are genuine can be a difficult process so to assist you we’ve found a really helpful website, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

Following this link will take you to a guide specifically designed to assist persons whose role includes having to verify someone’s identity through the examination of personal documents.