Every year thousands of workers from other parts of the world come to the UK to work, and many of them take jobs in market sectors which require workers to have their criminal records checked. There is a wide range of occupations which fall into this category, and irrespective of nationality, police checking for people who have lived overseas can be complex and take a lot longer than for someone who has always lived in the UK.

Address History

When completing a DBS form, applicants are asked to provide addresses of where they have been living for the past five years. Filling in your current address should be straightforward, as is other addresses within the UK. Make sure you complete the form carefully and include the postcode. If you have lived overseas in the past five years then this needs to be declared too, by writing “overseas” in the correct box on the form, and then detailing the country where you were living and the dates of the stay. This only applies to extended stays in a country to live, study or work – it does not apply to holidays overseas. If your situation is complex, or your circumstances are unusual, call the DBS for guidance about how to best complete the form.

Overseas Police Checking

Employers have the right to ask for workers who have recently arrived from overseas to complete a separate process of checking with the foreign police authorities. Applicants can be asked to obtain a “Certificate of Good Character” from their home country’s police, which will state whether they have a criminal record. If the applicant gives permission to the employer, the employer can also approach the country’s UK embassy and ask for a check to be done. The cost for these checks and the length of time it takes to complete the checks will depend on the country concerned. Certificates might also need to be translated into English at additional cost. Often, the employer will meet the cost of getting foreign police checks done but this is not always the case and applicants should clarify this before agreeing to go ahead and getting checks done.

Starting Work While Checks Pending

Depending on the type of job, some workers may be allowed to start work while they are still waiting for their checks to be processed. Workers in care homes for adults can get an express answer to whether they can start work by using a system called DBS Adult First which will tell the employer within 2 days whether a worker can start work under supervision straight away, or should wait for the full DBS process to complete. Foreign workers will typically be told that they must wait for the full check, but some employers might have alternative duties or training which has to be completed while waiting for checks to come through. Always clarify this with employers at interview stage, bearing in mind that workers will not be paid while waiting for any paperwork to be completed.