Top 5 APAC countries with high Background Screening Complexities

The Editorial Team
September 9, 2022

As organizations opportunistically focus on expanding borders and gaining a strong global foothold, managing current and prospective employees turns into a tangled web, and so is managing global pre-employment screening.

Background screening helps prospective employers validate credentials declared by the applicant at the time of hire. Hiring an employee from new geography and validating credentials all the while adhering to local laws is often a tightrope walk. Often, when organizations hire employees and conduct education, criminal, and employment background checks, their expectations are predominately based on outcomes from existing operations. However, these expectations seldom match native ground realities. This gap between expectations and realities is what makes global background screening complex.

 This article spotlights the screening complexities associated with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Scoring across each country in each region under the study was captured for the parameters described below.

The following are the parameters that were considered for this study:

In this article, let’s look at the top 5 countries in the APAC region where performing background screening is found to be complex. Based on these parameters, here are the top 5 countries with the highest screening complexity scores and the supporting rationale:

#1:South Korea

South Korea tops the list in the APAC region, the reason being the country’s prohibition to perform criminal checks using police records, thereby rendering organizations incapable of completing criminal verification. While an alternative called adverse media checks exist, this cannot replace criminal verifications. Hence, this contributes to a high discrepancy score for SouthKorea skewing the overall complexity index score. Data protection laws require additional consent from the applicant to release personal information. Linguistic barriers further pose a considerable challenge.

 #2: India

Academic verification in India is deemed complex as several Indian universities require representatives from background verification companies to physically visit administrative offices for academic record verification, which increases TAT. Furthermore, the multifarious types of criminal verification processes in India tamper with verification accuracy. Geo-political conditions and festival holidays result in institutions being closed, resulting in delayed TAT. While English is predominantly used as a language for communication, the country is home to 24 other official languages which poses a challenge for successful background checking.

 #3: Malaysia

In Malaysia, an applicant’s criminal records, health/medical screening, and political views are considered sensitive information and will require explicit applicant consent. Data privacy norms make it difficult for employers to process Criminal records check. Furthermore, the presence of different ethnic races causes linguistic barriers.

 #4: Vietnam

Drug/ health screening is usually not permitted here unless the organization can prove its necessity to the applicant’s role. Credit/financial checks & criminal records checks can be conducted after receiving explicit consent from the applicant. The absence of digitized information affects TAT and successful verification outcomes. Language is an additional barrier.

 #5: Pakistan

Education verification requires manual checking of applicant documents in universities, due to the absence of digital records. Criminal records check requires a physical visit to the local police station to complete the screening process. Background screening as a process is not a prevalent practice in Pakistan and this results in delays in applicant response.

During the Ramadan month, employee background verification companies may face extensive delays in getting verification results.

If you look at the reasons for each APAC country showing high complexity, you can spot that linguistic barriers have been common across most of them, with the intensity of language as a barrier differing from country to country. It becomes wise to choose a screening service provider with a global reach and local language capabilities. The Screening Complexity Index Report 2020 elaborates on the rationale and throws more light on the methodology through which we zeroed in on these conclusions. Furthermore, the report analyses the top countries showing high screening complexities across all other regions too. Here’s an excerpt from the report:

“When an organization is hiring, its expectations are often based on prevailing conditions in the countries where its major offices and operations are based. However, the processes involved in hiring in a new region often differ significantly, and expectations rarely match the on-ground realities. This results in unviable timelines, uncontrolled hiring and operation strategies, and at times, heavy penalties if a company breaks prevailing but often unfamiliar regulations for data and privacy.”

You can get full access to this report and similar other insightful whitepapers at Rise Above 2020 – A Global HR Evolution Summit organized by Neeyamo and a cohort of industry associations worldwide. Furthermore, you can witness top leaders from the background screening industry present in-depth insights on these resources.