The DBS check process in England and Wales is fairly straightforward. There are strict rules governing what you have to do, and in which order. Although the bodies doing the checking in Northern Ireland and Scotland are separate, the process is broadly similar. Applicants fill in a form, prove their identity, then the details they have provided are checked against information on the police computer. If you have only recently arrived in the UK, then this whole process can start to break down.
Why can’t foreign workers have DBS checks?
There’s no point running checks on someone who has only recently arrived in the UK. Unless they’ve managed to get themselves in trouble with the police in the short time since they have been in the UK, their record will be understandably blank. It makes a lot more sense to ask for background checks to be done in their home country, where records will be more detailed.
Alternatives to a DBS check for overseas staff
The DBS checking process is all about keeping vulnerable people safe. It’s not acceptable to just ignore issues with DBS checks and overseas workers. Companies have the right to ask applicants to get the equivalent of DBS checks in their home country. Each and every country across the world has a different system for background checking. The British Government publishes an extensive list, broken down alphabetically by country.
If applying for a s0-called certificate of good character from your home country, this will have to be done before you arrive in the UK. If you’re in the UK already, speak to your embassy about how to get your certificate. It might take a lot longer to get a certificate processed than in the UK. Also, if certificates are written in a language other than English, it may have to be translated. This means more delay, and additional cost too.
Managing the checking process for employers and staff
If you know that you’re going to be offering a job to someone who needs a certificate of good character from their home country, get the ball rolling as soon as possible. The applicant might have a certificate already, especially if they are applying for lots of different jobs. There’s no legal requirement to have the certificate before the person starts work. However, as an employer you have to take steps to safeguard your clients. This usually means putting the worker on different duties. Alternatively, team them up with a more experienced member of staff until the certificate comes through.
If you’re an overseas worker coming to the UK, read up on the types of jobs which require DBS checks. If you are going to be applying for work which will need a check done, start looking into how to get one right away. Most countries will ask you for documents like passport or bank statements to prove your identity. Have originals to hand before you start the process. If you need the certificate translated, look online for official translators who can help before you receive the certificate in the post.