Background Screening For A Global Workforce

Thanks to the digital economy, today’s workforce has gone global. For many organizations, hiring international workers with a wide variety of skills has become critical for business success.

In 2015, nearly 1.4 million foreign-born people immigrated to the United States. India stood as the top country of origin, followed by China, Mexico, the Philippines and Canada. That same year, 25.7 million foreign-born workers were employed in the United States, with 31 percent working in professional and management careers.

In addition, several million Americans are thought to live or work overseas at any given time. If you’re considering international candidates or Americans who have studied, lived or worked abroad, it’s wise to implement international background screenings.

Since privacy laws vary around the world, it’s best to work with an experienced global background screening provider. Before beginning your program, however, what do you need to know?

Legal Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers

If you’re hiring international workers for your business, you’ll need to ensure that candidates have authorization to work in the United States and that you follow other applicable laws. Even if you never hire any foreign workers, you’re still required to verify work authorization for every new employee at the time of hiring and keep proper records.

U.S. law requires you to ensure that new employees fit into one of the categories for legal workers: citizens of the United States, legal permanent residents, noncitizen nationals, and aliens who have work authorization.

It’s important to avoid demonstrating a preference for one category of legal employees over the other categories. Preference can be viewed as discriminatory and increase your organization’s risk for lawsuits. Employers may not discriminate on the basis of citizenship status or nation of origin.

How Can a Global Background Check Help?

By working with an experienced background screening provider, you can avoid becoming significantly invested in a candidate who cannot provide qualifying legal documents.

If a candidate you’d like to bring on board does not have the proper work authorization, it pays to know as soon as possible in the hiring process. Armed with the right information, you may be able to assist the worker in obtaining legal authorization.

Depending on a variety of factors — including the specific job requirements for your open position — it may be possible to sponsor a prospective worker as a green card holder, which provides legal permanent residency in the United States.

Any full-time, permanent position can serve as the basis for a green card, although waiting times may be lengthy. In addition, you may be able to help with obtaining a temporary visa that allows the candidate to work for you until the green card status is granted.

Temporary visa categories that provide work authorization cover a wide variety of types of work, including business professionals, educators, scientists, artists, executives and knowledge workers. Furthermore, certain visa programs, such as the EB-5 investment visa program, allow a pathway for qualified foreign investors to seek legal residence in the United States for them and other qualified family members.

Global background screenings can provide you with a range of information to use during your hiring and engagement process. From verification of education and employment to criminal records and professional references, background checks give you the information you need to determine whether to invest in the lengthy process of onboarding an international candidate.

The type of data included in a specific international background check may vary depending on the countries involved in the check and their privacy rules. You also may wish to alter the information gathered based on the job descriptions for each position and the level of risk they could pose for your organization.

Initiating Global Background Screenings

When you begin conducting background screenings on global candidates, you’ll need to consider the various laws that determine the types of inquiries that can be conducted throughout the world.

If you plan to conduct screenings in-house, it’s important to consult with experienced attorneys who understand all regional and national compliance requirements. You also should create your own guidelines for background screenings — including expected completion targets — to ensure equitable treatment of all candidates.

Background screenings should comply with requirements relevant to your industry, your organization, and the job duties and responsibilities specific to each position. Plan to use different screening tools for different positions within your company. For example, candidates for executive-level jobs may require deeper screenings than candidates for lower-level jobs might require.

In addition, it’s important to use only pertinent results of background screenings in hiring decisions. Laws relating to data privacy give prospective employees the right to challenge the accuracy of background checks.

Screenings should be conducted by experienced investigators that understand the laws in each country in which you plan to vet candidates. By working with a professional screening provider, you ensure that your background checks are thorough and comply with all applicable laws.

Professional Expertise in Global Background Screenings

If your organization recruits foreign workers or Americans who have lived abroad, global background checks constitute an important step in building an effective hiring process. Global Verification Network offers regulatory expertise in countries around the world and can assist you in creating a standard screening program with best practices for international candidates.

To learn more about our services or to request a quote for global background screenings, please contact Global Verification Network.

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