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Global Screening: Background Checks in India

September 30, 2022 | By Jeramy Gordon

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If anything drives home the complexity of employee background screening it’s the global environment many employers now find themselves in. COVID-19 fast-tracked the transition to a remote or hybrid workforce. Employers soon realized that without traditional geographic barriers they now have access to employees from around the globe.

When hiring employees in international locations, of course, increasing complexity is involved. In fact, even when hiring within the 50 states, local and state variation in regulations around the background check process can be confusing—and are often changing.

Global background screening, though, comes with its own challenges, and risks. Consider recruiting from a country like India, which is the second largest country in the world with more than 13 billion people living there. Size is not the only complexity—so is variation, with 28 different states and thousands of different ethnic groups in the country.

But as a top hub for talent of all kinds, India represents a fertile opportunity for talent acquisition. When recruiting talent from India, of course, it’s important to understand the global screening process and how background checks work in India.

Why Recruiting From India is So Attractive

There are a number of things that make India such an attractive source of candidates for a number of jobs:

  • The population is highly educated making them great candidates for a wide range of companies and positions.
  • Many speak fluent English.
  • A high percentage of Indian immigrants—about 2.7 million in 2019, according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI)—live in the US. This interactive map shows that migration.

Chart, scatter chart Description automatically generated

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/immigrant-and-emigrant-populations-country-origin-and-destination

There are some potential cautions, too:

  • The tendency to falsify background information is on the rise in India.
  • India’s proposed Personal Data Protection Bill is in a state of flux.

We’ll take a look at each of these and how the landscape in India may impact your background screening efforts.

A Tendency Toward Falsified Information

Employers in virtually all areas of the globe are at risk of CV fraud—the act of potential employees fraudulently sharing information about their backgrounds that isn’t true. In India, though, reports indicate that this tendency is on the rise.

That tendency makes it increasingly imperative that companies recruiting from India, or recruiting candidates who have been educated, or have worked in India, make a commitment to thoroughly vetting those candidates through reliable background checks.

India’s Proposed Personal Data Protection Bill

India has been attempting to pass a Data Protection Bill, introduced in 2019, but the Bill has been subject to delays and recently, in 2022, was withdrawn. Pushback has come from a variety of sources, most notably giant tech firms like Facebook and Google. According to The Indian Express: “The activists had criticized, in particular, a provision that allowed the central government and its agencies blanket exemptions from adhering to any and all provisions of the Bill.”

It’s likely that the Bill will resurface meaning employers recruiting from India need to stay on top of what’s happening—or work with a vendor that can help them navigate this uncertainty.

There are other challenges associated with conducting background checks in international locales. Companies conducting background screening must abide by all local laws and also adhere to and accommodate local customs which differ from country to country. Internationally, it’s also not unusual for candidates to have data in multiple jurisdictions if they’ve lived or worked in different locations. Information also may not be readily available—and, in some cases, it can be challenging to interpret the findings.

A Task Best Left to Professionals

Background checks have become increasingly complex in many locations. As we’ve seen, global background checks, especially in popular sources of talent like India, carry unique complexities.

“Global background screening is a task best left to professionals in the field because this process not only requires expertise and experience but also needs to adhere to a long list of rules and regulations,” says Riley Beam, managing attorney with Douglas R. Beam, P.A. These rules and regulations change from one region to another, and it is almost impossible for a regular organization to undertake these checks while adhering to each rule without prior experience.

Accurate, which recently opened new offices in India, offers international background screening services. Accurate has the experience and resources to help you get what you need from nearly 200 countries in a number of countries, including India, that take into account local regulations. Learn more.

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