What You Need to Know About International Background Checks

What You Need to Know About International Background Checks

What You Need to Know About International Background Checks

It’s easier and faster than ever to travel and do business overseas. Employees don’t have to be located in a company’s headquarters to work. Recruiters increasingly cross international borders to bring in top talent. Background screening of international candidates is critical for risk reduction and security.

Domestic Background Checks Are Complicated

In the United States, there are local, state, and federal rules and laws around background checks. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prevents their use for employment discrimination. The Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforce the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which includes third-party background check regulations. These complexities make domestic recruitment challenging, but international recruitment is even more complex.

North and South America

Canada, Mexico, and South America have background check laws that are similar to the United States’ federal laws. They generally allow employers to do what they want unless the law expressly says they can’t. International laws around credit and criminal history background checks are what stymie American employers the most. Canada limits credit checks. Criminal records are generally considered sensitive data and are protected and restricted in Canada and most South American countries.

European Union

In April 2016, the European Union adopted a data protection and privacy law called the General Data Protection Regulation. It applies to background screening. Only limited data can be collected and archived, and the purposes for which it can be shared are also limited. Candidates must expressly and freely consent to a background check if they reside in the European Union.


Only a few Asian countries, including Japan, have specific data privacy laws. The Philippines recently instituted a wide-ranging data privacy law. South Korea has one of the strongest data privacy laws in the world. Criminal remedies are available if a person violates the law. As for criminal records, most of the data in a background screening would be considered sensitive in Asia, and candidates would have to consent to the collection, release, and use of the data.

When you’re ready to begin recruiting internationally, or simply increase the effectiveness of your efforts, Private Eyes is here to help. With experience executing detailed international background checks in over 200 countries on every continent, we have the right tools and people to help you successfully navigate any obstacle that might arise. 

Need a thorough background check? Contact us to learn more.