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In 2014, the use of international background checks will increase as employers both open offices outside of the U.S. and hire people who have spent time abroad.  With nearly 250 political entities in the world, each country is an adventure when it comes to background checks and employers cannot assume that screening internationally is the same as domestic U.S. processes.  This is Trend Number Nine of the 7th Annual Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) ‘Top Ten Background Check Trends’ for 2014. For more information about the trends, please visit

The need for international background screening may occur when an applicant for a position in the United States has spent a relevant period of time outside of the U.S., or a U.S. firm is setting up an office overseas. The world differs widely in terms of what information is available and what can be legally obtained.  However, more resources for international checks are being developed and although such checks can be challenging, can take longer than domestic checks, and often cost more, it is becoming part of an employer’s standard arsenal of due diligence tools.

Due to the perceived difficulty in performing international employment screening, some employers have not attempted to verify international credentials or perform foreign criminal background checks. However, the mere fact that information may be more difficult to obtain from outside of the U.S. does not relieve an employer from their due diligence obligation, or “duty of care,” associated with hiring. When performing international background screening, employers may face a number of the special challenges and practical difficulties that include: countries with differences in courts and legal systems, name variations, time and calendar differences, and costs.

U.S. employers performing international background checks also have to consider strict privacy laws and data protection rules such as privacy laws in the European Union (EU) or Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronics Document Act (PIPEDA). Employers also cannot necessarily rely upon the fact that an applicant in the  U.S. on a VISA has undergone a government background check since VISAs are based upon police clearances or certificates of good conduct, and the accuracy of such documents can vary widely around the world.  In some countries, a police certificate may have very limited value.

To help U.S. employers understand the special challenges involved with international background checks, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers the complimentary whitepaper ‘Introduction to International Background Screening’ for download at ESR has international criminal search capabilities in over 240 countries and utilizes a highly-specialized network of international sources. For more information about international background checks from ESR, visit, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email [email protected].

About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

LesRosenPhoto_Aug2012_SmallWhiteBorderFounded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in the San Francisco, CA-area in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit, call toll free 888.999.4474, or email [email protected].


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