As immigration trends in the United States continue to grow, so will the need for employers to conduct international background checks. For U.S. employers, the need to conduct background checks on individuals that are foreign-born or have spent a considerable amount of time abroad continues to be a hot topic and a growing trend in the United States. Employers need to be vigilant in hiring individuals that are eligible to work in the U.S., along with the required skills and experience to support corporate demands. In addition, one of the compelling factors to conduct background checks on all applicants is to help ensure that a candidate does not bring unnecessary security or safety risks into the workplace in regards to potential fraud, theft, and acts of workplace violence or even terrorism. Employers realizing the overwhelming benefits of conducting background checks coupled with record U.S. immigration trends bring a renewed focus on international screening. Here are a few immigration statistics to consider:
Based on immigration figures represented below, there were approximately 23.4 million legal and unauthorized immigrants living in the United States as of January 1, 2010.
- According to a report released in October of 2011 by the Department Of Homeland Security (DHS), there is an estimated 12.6 million Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) living in the United States as of January 1, 2010, of which 8.1 million of those LRPs were eligible for naturalization.
- According to estimates by the Department Of Homeland Security, there were approximately 10.8 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in January 2010.
- Currently the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) allows up to 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas to foreign-born individuals per year to come into the United States.
In addition, the numbers within the DHS reports support the growing trend of increased Legal Permanent Residents (LRPs) living in the United States thru 2009 with the most significant increase (23.6%) taking place from 2007-2009. Of the 12,630,000 residents reported over this period, the following is a breakdown of the top 20 countries where individuals were born: Mexico, Philippines, China, India, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Canada, El Salvador, Vietnam, United Kingdom, South Korea, Haiti, Columbia, Jamaica, Germany, Guatemala, Poland, Japan, Peru, Pakistan. Approximately 30% of the residents reported are from a variety of other countries.
According to the DHS and other reporting U.S. government agencies, we will continue to see proportional immigration growth from these countries and others into the future. With the influx from these countries and others, employers need to focus on international recruiting and screening strategies and incorporate international background checks into their current screening programs. Background checks can actually be conducted in all of the countries listed above.
International background screening brings forth a unique set of issues and challenges that make it very different from what has become standard practice for background screeners here in the United States. It is important that these differences are clearly understood before an international screening program is designed and implemented for employers that wish to screen outside of the US.
In general, international background checks can be more expensive and complex than domestic screening for the following reasons:
- Intricacy involved with developing domain knowledge and the infrastructure required to deliver these services on a country by country basis;
- Knowledge and understanding of legal requirements, cultural differences, security protocols and privacy issues specific to each country or region;
- Necessity to have access to people with the ability to speak a wide variety of languages;
- Necessity to operate around the clock to accommodate different time zones;
- Expertise required to provide the optimum level of accuracy and quality;
- Necessity to address multiple currency exchanges and the legitimate fees associated with accessing public information abroad;
- Significant differences in the amount of detailed, country-specific and product-specific information required from a prospective employee to complete the background check.
Employment Background Investigations, Inc. specializes in domestic and international background screening services to support the needs of employers hiring outside of the United States. EBI provides a full range of legally compliant services around the world, such as employment, contractor and vendor screening, compliance consulting, best practice design and enhanced due diligence services. EBI has the expertise and resources to help any employer meet their screening needs in a cost-effective compliant manner in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.