Criminal Record Checks for Overseas Applicants

Have you been wondering about how and when to get criminal record checks for overseas applicants?

If your organisation recruits people to work with vulnerable adults or children, you may need to carry out criminal record checks on them before they can begin work.

This applies to both UK applicants and overseas applicants. However, the process is usually a little different for overseas applicants.

Criminal record checks for overseas applicants

When should I carry out criminal record checks for overseas applicants?

The same eligibility criteria applies to criminal record checks for overseas applicants as it does to DBS checks for UK applicants.

DBS check eligibility is determined by the regularity and level of contact with vulnerable people required by the applicant’s role.

The government provides eligibility guidelines which explain in detail who is eligible for a DBS check.

If an overseas applicant meets these criteria, you should carry out a criminal record check on them.

Can I apply for a DBS check for an overseas applicant?

Carrying out a DBS check on an overseas applicant is unlikely to yield the necessary information. This is because the DBS is unable to access criminal records held overseas.

Very occasionally the Police National Computer does hold overseas criminal records, and these would be revealed by a DBS check.

You can apply for a DBS check on behalf of an overseas applicant whilst they’re still overseas, but you must still prove their identity.

How do I carry out criminal record checks for overseas applicants?

In cases where a DBS check won’t reveal a complete picture of an applicant’s criminal history, you should obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country in question.

To find out how to obtain this certificate, you’ll need to get in touch with the relevant Embassy or High Commission.

If an applicant with a significant record of overseas residence is applying to work in a regulated activity, you should also check the barred lists by way of a DBS check – even though little or no information may be revealed.

Checking an applicant’s right to work

Employers have a legal responsibility to check whether job applicants are permitted to work in the UK. A DBS check won’t reveal this information.

Applicants should provide evidence of their right to work in the UK by producing original copies of documents as specified by UK Visas and Immigration.

Criminal record checks for overseas applicants: a summary

Employers should ensure they obtain all the information available to them in order to make safer recruitment decisions.

If an overseas applicant is eligible for a DBS check, you should obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct by contacting the Embassy of the country where the applicant has been resident.

If the applicant has also lived in the UK, you should carry out a DBS check as well.

If you’d like any more information about criminal record checks for overseas applicants, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.