Recruiting individuals who were born outside the UK or who have lived outside the UK
There are two issues to consider when recruiting individuals who were either born outside the UK, or who have lived outside the UK for six months or more. The first is confirming someone's identity and the second relates to checking their criminal record. With regard to the identity of the individual, employers should take particular care during the recruitment process; ensuring they follow up references and making other relevant checks before making an appointment.
Employers can ask prospective employees and existing members of staff to provide a criminal record certificate, where available, from their government or an appropriate government/police agency in the country where they were born and or resided. Guidance on the process of applying for overseas criminal records checks is available on the UK Government website and also, on the website of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). The advice from the Church of Scotland Safeguarding Service is that the onus is on the individual to provide details of their criminal conviction history from their home country or countries of previous residence prior to being appointed to a post.
The Church of Scotland requires overseas police check from the following applicants:
- Those who have spent six months or more (in a single period) in a non-UK country in the last ten years
- Those who were born and have lived overseas until adulthood
If this applies to the applicant, they must obtain an official statement confirming that they do not have any criminal record proceedings pending. The police check should cover the entire country, not just one state or province e.g., an FBI clearance is required for the USA and RCMP clearance for Canada.
Statements are only valid for application purposes for a period of six months from the date of issue. This does not apply if the applicant relocated to the UK before the six-month period expired and has not been a resident in the country concerned since.
On occasion an applicant might not be able to meet the requirements above.
Employers should also be aware that the categories of criminal convictions differ from country to country, and that the laws governing rehabilitation of offenders also vary significantly. In some instances, criminal records are expunged either automatically after a period of time or after a time linked to the length of the original sentence.
Laws relating to children and protected adults may also vary from country to country.
In these situations, rigorous checking that accounts for time spent abroad is necessary, for example:
- Proof of itinerary
- Suitable proof of residence of time spent abroad e.g., document from landlord
- Overseas employee or academic references/certificates, including UK departments and agencies based overseas (e.g., Foreign and Commonwealth Office missions, British Council or Non-Governmental Organisations, Bank/credit card statements, and
- Character references, quoting dates and places of meeting
Confirmation of dates can be cross-referenced with passport and work permits and by contacting employers/educational establishments.
If an applicant cannot meet the requirements above, or if further advice is required, please contact the Safeguarding Service before taking any further steps in the recruitment process.