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Old Oct 5th 2017, 10:02 am   #1
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Question American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

I am about to start working for an American company with offices in NYC and London. There is a different legal entity set up in NYC and London, although both belong to the same parent holding (group) company.

Both the NYC and London firms work with mostly U.S. clients. These U.S. clients require anyone working on their projects to pass a criminal background check.

My role in London would be dealing mostly with these U.S. clients (remotely, while I am based in London), therefore, I need to pass a criminal background check before I can join the firm.

I am British, always lived in England and visited the US many times on ESTA (usually 3-4 times a year), mostly as a tourist. I have no criminal/arrest etc. history whatsoever so will comfortably pass any criminal background test. In addition, I am a home owner and married with an excellent credit score and credit and employment history.

The London firm asked for my permission to do a criminal background check on me, as part of the job offer. I have given my consent, obviously.

Today, I have heard from the London firm:
"We have hit an issue with the criminal background check item. This is nothing at all to do with you of course, but there is currently a gap in what we are officially allowed to perform as a check in the UK as this does not seem fulfil the full check criteria required by a majority of our new US clients. If this was the case, you would not be allowed to work on those projects, and this would be an issue as this is very much part of the plan for you.”
What is going on? Sounds like the US clients would not accept my UK criminal background check? What is the difference between a US vs UK check, anyway?

I suggested to the firm that in addition to the UK employment contract with the London firm I also sign an agreement with the NYC entity. I think (and I am no lawyer) that this could give them the consent to conduct a US version of criminal background check on me (i.e. the NYC entity would conduct the check, not the London one). Is this right? I am not even a U.S. resident and I would continue to be based in London, so I have no idea how this would work in practice.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 10:21 am   #2
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by destone View Post
I am about to start working for an American company with offices in NYC and London. There is a different legal entity set up in NYC and London, although both belong to the same parent holding (group) company.

Both the NYC and London firms work with mostly U.S. clients. These U.S. clients require anyone working on their projects to pass a criminal background check.

My role in London would be dealing mostly with these U.S. clients (remotely, while I am based in London), therefore, I need to pass a criminal background check before I can join the firm.

I am British, always lived in England and visited the US many times on ESTA (usually 3-4 times a year), mostly as a tourist. I have no criminal/arrest etc. history whatsoever so will comfortably pass any criminal background test. In addition, I am a home owner and married with an excellent credit score and credit and employment history.

The London firm asked for my permission to do a criminal background check on me, as part of the job offer. I have given my consent, obviously.

Today, I have heard from the London firm:
"We have hit an issue with the criminal background check item. This is nothing at all to do with you of course, but there is currently a gap in what we are officially allowed to perform as a check in the UK as this does not seem fulfil the full check criteria required by a majority of our new US clients. If this was the case, you would not be allowed to work on those projects, and this would be an issue as this is very much part of the plan for you.”
What is going on? Sounds like the US clients would not accept my UK criminal background check? What is the difference between a US vs UK check, anyway?

I suggested to the firm that in addition to the UK employment contract with the London firm I also sign an agreement with the NYC entity. I think (and I am no lawyer) that this could give them the consent to conduct a US version of criminal background check on me (i.e. the NYC entity would conduct the check, not the London one). Is this right? I am not even a U.S. resident and I would continue to be based in London, so I have no idea how this would work in practice.
If the company is carrying out the check, in the UK, then there are limits under UK law as to what details they can access - especially if the job is not one with access to children or vulnerable people.
You culd suggest to them that you carry out your own check, applying for a Subject Access check, which is more comprehensive, and then supplying it to them. They cannot do a SAR on your behalf, you have to apply yourself.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 10:21 am   #3
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by destone View Post
I am about to start working for an American company with offices in NYC and London. There is a different legal entity set up in NYC and London, although both belong to the same parent holding (group) company.

Both the NYC and London firms work with mostly U.S. clients. These U.S. clients require anyone working on their projects to pass a criminal background check.

My role in London would be dealing mostly with these U.S. clients (remotely, while I am based in London), therefore, I need to pass a criminal background check before I can join the firm.

I am British, always lived in England and visited the US many times on ESTA (usually 3-4 times a year), mostly as a tourist. I have no criminal/arrest etc. history whatsoever so will comfortably pass any criminal background test. In addition, I am a home owner and married with an excellent credit score and credit and employment history.

The London firm asked for my permission to do a criminal background check on me, as part of the job offer. I have given my consent, obviously.

Today, I have heard from the London firm:
"We have hit an issue with the criminal background check item. This is nothing at all to do with you of course, but there is currently a gap in what we are officially allowed to perform as a check in the UK as this does not seem fulfil the full check criteria required by a majority of our new US clients. If this was the case, you would not be allowed to work on those projects, and this would be an issue as this is very much part of the plan for you.”
What is going on? Sounds like the US clients would not accept my UK criminal background check? What is the difference between a US vs UK check, anyway?

I suggested to the firm that in addition to the UK employment contract with the London firm I also sign an agreement with the NYC entity. I think (and I am no lawyer) that this could give them the consent to conduct a US version of criminal background check on me (i.e. the NYC entity would conduct the check, not the London one). Is this right? I am not even a U.S. resident and I would continue to be based in London, so I have no idea how this would work in practice.
There are two levels of CRB checks in the UK, and a firm has to be specifically registered to request the most stringent one, and it sounds as though they have only done the basic instead of the enhanced check.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 11:10 am   #4
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

The UK background check will likely not check the US sources that the client is interested in.

Why can't you employer also perform a US background check too?
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 11:11 am   #5
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
The UK background check will likely not check the US sources that the client is interested in.

Why can't you employer also perform a US background check too?
Is that possible? I have not lived in the US before, just visited many times on ESTA.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 11:14 am   #6
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by destone View Post
Is that possible? I have not lived in the US before, just visited many times on ESTA.
You won't have an SSN, but I can't see that being the end of the world. Ask your employer?
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 2:22 pm   #7
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
You won't have an SSN, but I can't see that being the end of the world. Ask your employer?
Tom's suggestion makes sense.

They will want your check to return with no issues. If you haven't lived here, then that is what they will get.

I'd also point out to your future employer that they are almost definitely going to have the same situation with anyone they employ in the UK.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 2:31 pm   #8
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

Are you their first UK employee? They certainly are not the first US company in the UK that needs this background check. They really should be able to figure out what they need to get done. Someone is just being incompetent.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 6:13 pm   #9
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Default Re: American criminal background check - working remotely from UK

An ACRO Police Certificate for the UK and an FBI check from the US would cover all your bases. The FBI check will take several months to process so check if that is really required or not.
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