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Checks for Staff and Volunteers from Overseas

When recruiting people (either paid staff or volunteers) from overseas you must still follow the safer recruitment process.

Enhanced Disclosures for Overseas Workers

All candidates for posts that are eligible for a DBS check, must make an application and receive a satisfactory criminal records check BEFORE confirmation of appointment. Be aware, however, there may be risks (and difficulties) in obtaining a DBS check for workers with no UK residence history. If a church or other organisation is considering an applicant with substantial or sole overseas residency, a Disclosure application may have little value because the Police National Computer contains only a limited number of overseas convictions. Equally, the applicant would also then be in possession of a ‘clear’ certificate which may not present a true picture of their background – the risks of this are self-evident.

When considering such candidates our advice is to obtain a criminal record check or ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ from all countries where they have resided and to ensure full safer recruitment procedures are applied i.e. job role/description, application and self-declaration forms, interview and appropriate references. This is the most robust way of ensuring you are recruiting safely rather
than relying solely on a DBS certificate which, under these circumstances, involves inherent risks. We also recommend that all this documentation is kept on their staff/volunteer file indefinitely. For further information on recommended safer recruitment practices see: Recruiting Safely.

For country-specific information go to CPNI and Government Guidance.

Right to Work in the UK

The DBS does not check whether an applicant is permitted to work (either paid or volunteer work) within the UK. Employers always need to make sure new employees (paid or voluntary) are allowed to work in the UK and they must be sure of this before they hire them. An employer can be fined up to £20,000 if they can’t show evidence that they checked an employee’s right to work in the UK.

Full details on what documentation you need to see and how you can check that a job applicant is
allowed to work for your organisation in the UK see: Right to work and checklist.

Remember: Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK must undergo
the same rigorous recruitment procedures and checks as all other staff/volunteers in your
organisation before they start work. You must also make all further appropriate checks so that any
relevant events that occurred outside the UK can be considered. Refer to the UK Government's Right to work checklist.

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