Overseas Applicants and DBS Checks

Apply for a DBS Check

The volume of applications received by the Disclosure and Barring Service in England and Wales is staggering, frequently topping 300,000 applications a month. Getting a DBS check for a new employee is standard in the recruitment processes of so many companies, across a wide range of business sectors. Checking up on someone’s criminal record is a key tool in any safe recruitment process, and helps employers ensure that they are doing everything they can to safeguard not just customers, but employees and their own business too.

Although recruiting staff from overseas has become trickier after Brexit, there are still many industries which depend on a steady stream of skilled workers from overseas. Healthcare is the best example of this, with doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and related professionals working across the NHS. If you are involved in employing staff overseas to come to the UK and work in a role which requires a DBS check, then it’s essential that you understand the process as it applies to applicants from overseas.


Carrying Out Checks for Overseas Applicants

In addition to DBS checks, employers should be running Right to Work checks on all applicants too, and not just the ones who are being recruited from overseas. A Right to Work check looks at an applicant’s status in the UK, with the aim of preventing people from working illegally. Right to work checks generally involve employers looking at passports, checking UK passports are valid, and that overseas applicants have the correct visa in their passport to work in the UK.

DBS checks on applicants from overseas are trickier. There is only limited information sharing between police in the UK and overseas, and it’s impossible for the DBS to find out about all offences and convictions in all other countries overseas. If an applicant has been in the UK for a time before applying for their DBS check, then the check can cover the period from their arrival in the UK only.

Employers will often have to obtain an overseas record check which is equivalent to the DBS Check in the UK. The bad news is that every country around the world has their own way of doing this. The applicant will usually have to go through their Embassy in the UK to organise the check if they are in the UK already, or their Police Force in their home country if they are yet to travel. It is also advised to have police reports, certificates of good conduct or similar documents which are produced overseas translated officially, if they are not produced in English. This all takes time, and processing and translation times for overseas police checks can be considerably more than getting a check through the DBS in England and Wales, or for Disclosure Scotland.


Checking Identity

Overseas applicants will need to obtain a DBS check equivalent from their home country, but employers still need to see identification documents to tie their applicant to a police certificate, matching names to appearance.