Hamburger
  • Legal system, currency, language

    Constitutional. The official currency is the Kwanza (AOA). The official language is Portuguese.

  • Corporate presence requirements & payroll set-up

    A foreign entity may engage employees in Angola with proper payroll registrations, subject to business, corporate and tax considerations. The employer is responsible for withholding from an employee's pay, and delivering to the tax authority, income tax and contributions to Angolan social security. The level of income tax is defined by the government and varies in line with the employee's salary.

  • Pre-hire checks

    Required

    Immigration compliance and pre-hire medical examinations.

    Permissible

    Reference and education checks are permissible.

  • Immigration

    Criminal and medical checks must be issued by competent authorities, a criminal record must be issued by the home country and a medical certificate must be issued by a doctor in the employee’s home country.

    The visa/work permit requirements for overseas nationals to work in Angola are having a recognized travel document valid for the Angolan territory for at least 6 months, being of legal age, not being included in the national list of undesirable persons prohibited from entering into the national territory, not constituting a danger to public order or to social security interests, complying with all health regulations established by the Ministry of Health for entry into the national territory, having an employment contract or promissory employment contract, having a certificate of professional and educational qualifications and curriculum vitae, and obtaining a positive opinion of the competent Ministry.

  • Hiring options

    Employee

    Indefinite-term contract (which is the rule), fixed-term or open-term (ie, a term contract whose termination date has not yet been defined, but that will be terminated as soon as the underlying need for contracting is no longer verified – for example, as a contract to cover absence), part-time contract, telework contract and contract under service commission regime – a particular type of contract for high-level employees which provides flexibility for termination and is not common. The parties may execute an employment contract for a fixed term or open term, which must be done in writing.  Part-time, fixed-term and open-term employees may not be discriminated against due to their status.

    Independent contractor

    Independent contractors may be engaged directly by the company or via a personal services company. Engagement may be subject to misclassification exposure. The factors that tend to indicate an individual is an employee (rather than, for example, a self-employed independent contractor) are the existence of a work schedule, the scheduling of vacation, the worker’s legal subordination to the company, the company’s authority, direction and disciplinary powers, control of punctuality and attendance over the individual, integration into the structure of the company and use of work tools belonging to the company, among others.

    In the event of misclassification, the relationship may be converted into an employment relationship on a permanent basis, and the employer may be liable to pay a fine for non-compliance.

    Agency worker

    Agency workers may only be engaged to fulfill a temporary need for work. The agency work contract duration depends on the underlying reason for hiring and does not typically exceed 12 months. Agency workers have the right to equal treatment to employees in relation to pay and other regular benefits.

  • Employment contracts & policies

    Employment contracts

    Written employment contracts are common but not mandatory, except for fixed-term, part-time, telework and service commission regime contracts as well as contracts with foreign employees and underage employees. Employment contracts cannot contain conditions that are less favorable to employees than mandatory employment legislation.

    Probationary periods

    Permissible.

    Employment contracts for an unlimited period of time may be subject to a probation period corresponding to the first 60 days of performance of work; the parties may, by written agreement, reduce or waive this period.

    The parties may extend the probation period, in writing, to up to 4 months in case of employees who perform highly technical, complex work that is difficult to evaluate, and to up to 6 months in case of employees who perform management duties.

    In an employment contract for a limited period of time, the parties may set forth a probation period in writing, and its duration cannot exceed 15 days in case of non-qualified employees, or 30 days in case of qualified employees. Angolan law does not define qualified and non-qualified, but the common practice is that qualified employees correspond to positions that involve technical complexity, a high degree of responsibility or special qualifications as well as those carrying out functions of trust.

    Policies

    Employers with more than 50 employees must, in order to organize the work and labor discipline, draft and approve employee handbooks, guidelines, instructions, service orders and work rules defining rules for the technical organization of work, performance of work and work discipline, delegation of powers, employee job descriptions, safety, hygiene and health protection of work, performance indicators, a remuneration system, working hours for the several sections of the company or work center, control of entrances and exits and circulation within the premises of the company, and surveillance and control of production.

    Employers with 50 or fewer employees may, but are not required to, implement employee handbooks on the matters described above.

    Third-party approval

    Whenever the employee’s handbook or any other rules and regulations establish rules on performance and discipline, remuneration systems, work performance or safety, hygiene and health protection at work, the employer must forward such regulations for information and registration purposes to the General Labor Inspectorate.

  • Language requirements

    Portuguese. Nevertheless, employment contracts and other documents may be drafted in a bilingual template.

  • Minimum employment rights

    Employees entitled to minimum employment rights

    All employees are entitled to minimum employment rights.

    Working hours

    Maximum daily and weekly working hours are 8 hours per day and 44 hours per week. Overtime pay is required for hours worked in excess of these limits. These limits are inapplicable to employees who perform direction and leadership duties, duties of inspection, or provide direct support to the employer. In case the employee usually performs their work outside the company's premises, an exemption regime may also be agreed upon by the parties, in which case those limits shall not apply. Typically, employees under the exemption regime are entitled to an exemption bonus.

    Overtime

    Overtime may occur with an extraordinary increase in workload, to prevent serious damage or if due to majeure force. It is subject to the following maximum limits: (a) 2 hours per day, (b) 40 hours per month and (c) 200 hours per year.

    Overtime must be compensated with additional payment (ie, an increase of hourly rates) up to 30 hours per month: 50 percent. 30 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company dependent on number of employees and turnover. A company which is a subsidiary or branch of a company with headquarters abroad always qualifies as a large company. Overtime that exceeds that limit is paid for each hour at an additional 75 percent, 45 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company.

    Wages

    The minimum wage is established by Presidential Decree. It is set out as a general minimum wage, but there is also a minimum wage for trade and extractive industry groups, transport services and manufacturing groups and agriculture groups. Under the Decree currently in force, the general minimum wage is AOA21,454.10. The following sector-specific minimum wages also apply:

    • Trade and extractive industry groups: AOA32,181.15
    • Transport services and manufacturing groups: AOA26,817.63 and
    • Agriculture groups: AOA21,454.10.

    Vacation

    Minimum 22 working days per year, plus 12 public national holidays.

    Sick leave & pay

    Employees are entitled to take off as much time as they need for sick leave. For large and medium companies: In case of incapacity to work due to illness or common accident, pay is required in the amount corresponding to 100 percent of the base salary for a period of 2 months. For as long as the employee is not entitled to protection in case of illness or common accident from the social security authorities, the employer must pay to the employee 50 percent of salary from the 3rd to the 12th month.

    In case of small and micro companies: The employee is paid, in case of illness or common accident, the amount of 50 percent of the base salary within 90 days, after which the contract is terminated by expiration if the condition of illness remains.

    Maternity/parental leave & pay

    A pregnant employee is entitled to a paid maternity leave of 3 months. The amount of the maternity allowance is equal to the average of the 2 best monthly salaries from the 6 months preceding the commencement of the maternity leave. The maternity allowance is paid directly by the employer to the employee and, subsequently, the Social Security services reimburse the employer in full. Fathers are not entitled to any leave on the birth of a child; it is only considered as a justifiable reason for absence from work for 1 day.

  • Discrimination

    Discrimination based on the following protected characteristics is prohibited: race, color, gender, ethnic origin, marital status, origin or social rank, religious beliefs, political opinion, union affiliation and language.

  • Benefits & pensions

    Both employer and employee must pay contributions to social security in Angola to cover various employee benefits (eg, maternity leave payment and retirement pension). The employer must withhold the contribution due by the employee and deliver both contributions (ie, employer and employee) to social security every month.

    Current general rates are 3 percent of the gross wage for the employee and 8 percent for the employer.

    Employees with a minimum contributory period (ie, 35 years) qualify for a retirement pension at age 60 or in cases of total incapacity.

    Employers have no legal obligation to provide complementary or supplementary social benefits in addition to the social coverage provided for by the social public scheme. However, some companies – mostly large companies or multinational companies who have their own schemes worldwide – set up and provide private complementary health and pension schemes to their employees.

  • Data privacy

    The Data Privacy Law No. 22/11, June 17 governs Angolan data privacy and determines, in general terms, how to collect, use, disclose, store and give access to "personal information."

    There is no specific regulation on employee data privacy.

  • Rules in transactions/business transfers

    Provided that the same business activity is maintained, the new employer takes the position of the former employer in the employment contracts and takes their position in respect of the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationships. This is the case even if the employment contract is terminated before the transfer. The new employer takes their position as the employer of such former employees in respect of due and non-paid credits. All credits, rights and obligations of the employer arising from the execution and implementation of the employment contract, its violation or termination are subject to a statute of limitations of 1 year starting on the day following the day of termination of the contract. Employees keep the same seniority and acquired rights which they had in the service of their former employer.

    The new employer undertakes the obligations of the former employer limited to those incurred during the 12 months prior to the modification, provided that, up to 22 business days prior to the modification, the new mployer gives notice to the employees that they must claim their credits up to the 2nd business day prior to the date scheduled for such modification. Within 22 business days following the modification of employer, the employees have the right to terminate the employment contract with prior notice, but this does not confer any right to compensation.

  • Employee representation

    Employee representative bodies are permissible but not mandatory.

    Trade unions are not common in Angola.

    In order to carry out their duties, trade union representatives are entitled to 4 paid hours a month but must notify the employer in advance of the date and number of days they require for the exercise of trade union functions. Employers are obliged to provide a suitable place for workers' meetings whenever this is requested by the union representatives. Special protections against dismissal are granted to employees who perform, or have performed, duties as union representatives, either as leaders or delegates, or members of the employees’ representative body performing union-related activities.

  • Termination

    Grounds

    Unilateral termination by the employer: dismissal based on objective grounds (ie, redundancy reasons); disciplinary dismissal with just cause (ie, based on serious breach of the employee's duties).

    Termination without cause (with notice): only for employees hired under an employment contract of service commission regime (a particular type of contract for high-level employees which provides flexibility for termination but is not common).

    Other termination causes: mutual agreement, termination by the employee (ie, termination with notice or constructive dismissal with just cause), expiration (ie, fixed-term and open-term contracts or retirement).

    Employees subject to termination laws

    All employees.

    Restricted or prohibited terminations

    Special protection against dismissal is granted to employees who perform, or have performed, duties as union representatives, either as leaders or delegates, or members of the employees’ representative body performing activities; women covered by the regime of maternity protection; war veterans as per the definition provided by the applicable law; employees under the legal age; employees with a reduced work capacity or with a disability degree equal or higher than 20 percent.

    As a general rule, a copy of the notice served on the employee must be forwarded to General Labor Inspectorate.

    Third-party approval for termination/termination documents

    Except in respect of protected employees, third-party approval is not required to terminate an employment.

    Mass layoff rules

    If economic, technological or structural circumstances occur, which may be clearly demonstrated and which involve an internal reorganization or conversion, or the reduction or the shutting down of activities, which makes it necessary to eliminate or significantly change job positions, the employer may terminate the employment contracts of the employees who perform such job positions.

    Collective dismissal rules are triggered if the dismissal involves at least 20 employees.

    Information to the General Labour Inspectorate is required. However, there is no need to obtain approval for termination.

    The General Labor Inspectorate may undertake the diligence deemed necessary for clarification of the situation and, in case of a collective dismissal, during the period in which the evaluation of the General Labor Inspectorate occurs, the employer may promote a meeting with the representative body or with the committee appointed for the purpose of exchange of information and clarification and may forward the conclusions of the meetings to the General Labor Inspectorate.

    Notice

    For individual dismissals based on objective grounds (up to 20 employees): the employer must forward, at least 30 days in advance, prior notice of dismissal to the employee or employees who occupy the job positions to be extinguished or transformed.

    For collective dismissal: the prior notice is 60 days.

    Notice periods in case of term contract: 15 business days if its duration is equal to or higher than 3 months.

    Statutory right to pay in lieu of notice or garden leave

    Payment in lieu of notice is permitted (and required if the notice period is not honored).

    Garden leave is allowed during the notice period.

    Severance

    Fair dismissal based on objective grounds (redundancy/collective dismissal):

    • Large companies: compensation corresponds to 1 base salary for each year of effective service up to the limit of 5 and an additional 50 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service that exceed such limit
    • Medium companies: compensation corresponds to 1 base salary for each year of effective service up to the limit of 3 and an additional 40 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed such limit
    • Small companies: compensation corresponds to 2 base salary and an additional 30 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed the limit of 2 years
    • Micro companies: compensation corresponds to 2 base salary and an additional 20 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed the limit of 2 years

       

      Fair disciplinary dismissal: no severance.

      Higher severance payments may be agreed and are usual as a way to avoid litigation.

  • Post-termination restraints

    A clause of the employment contract which restricts the activity of the employee for a period of time, which may not exceed 3 years from the termination of the contract, is lawful if the following conditions are met: (a) such clause is included, in writing, in the employment contract, or in its addendum; (b) the activity performed may cause real damage to the employer and may be considered as unfair competition; (c) the employee is paid a salary during the period of restriction of work: the corresponding amount will be included in the contract or its addendum, and it must be taken into account, in its calculation, the fact that the employer may have incurred in significant expenses in the professional training of the employee.

    A clause which requires an employee who benefits from professional improvement or higher level education at the expense of the employer to remain at the service of the same employer for a certain period of time, provided that such period does not exceed 1 year, in case of training of professional improvement and up to 3 years in case of courses of high level education, is also lawful if established in writing. In this case, the employee may release themselves from remaining at the employer’s service by repaying to the employer the amount of the expenses incurred by the employer, in proportion to the remaining time until the term of the agreed period. The employer that hires the employee within the period of restriction of activity in the company is jointly liable for the damages caused by the employee or for the amount not returned by the employee.

  • Waivers

    In principle, statutory rights cannot be waived and any waiver of such rights will be null and void.

  • Remedies

    Discrimination

    Fine corresponding to 5 to 10 times the average salary paid by the company.

    Unfair Dismissal

    The employee may challenge the validity of the dismissal before the labor courts.

    If the relevant court declares the dismissal to be unlawful, by final judgment, the employer must immediately re-instate the employee in the same job position and benefiting from the same previous conditions, or, alternatively, shall indemnify the employee (compensation is different depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company and the cause of dismissal).

    In addition to re-instatement or the compensation, the employee is entitled to the base salaries they would have received if they had continued to perform work, until the date on which the employee finds a new job or up to the date of final judgment, whichever comes first, with a maximum limit of 6 months of base salary for large companies, 4 months to medium companies and 2 months for small and micro companies.

    Failure to inform and consult

    Not applicable.

  • Criminal sanctions

    Typically, non-compliance with employment laws leads to administrative proceedings which may lead to the payment of fines. If such non-compliance is based on violation of rights that deserve protection under criminal law, it may also lead to this type of judicial proceedings.

  • Key contacts

Pre-hire checks

Angola

Required

Immigration compliance and pre-hire medical examinations.

Permissible

Reference and education checks are permissible.

Argentina

Required

  • Pre-hire medical checks are required pursuant to resolutions issued by the Occupational Risk Superintendence. If an employee does not complete a pre-hire medical check, the employee will be deemed to have begun work in optimal health; therefore, any injuries or diseases that may arise in the future will be deemed to have happened during the employment relationship.
  • Criminal record checks are required for foreign employees to obtain a work visa.

Permissible

Where criminal checks are not required for work visa purposes, they are only permissible – and are common in practice – for specific roles (eg, high-level managerial positions). Reference and educational checks are common and permissible, provided applicant consent was previously obtained.

Australia

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Permitted with the applicant's consent and subject to relevant discrimination laws. Offers of employment may be subject to criminal record checks or medical examination if necessary to determine fitness for a particular job.

Austria

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (eg, certain finance positions) and subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

Bahrain

Required

Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the LMRA and Ministry of Interior before they may be hired on local employment contracts. The level of background checking and screening carried out by Bahrain authorities varies according to the nationality and proposed position of an individual.

Permissible

Generally, employers in Bahrain are not able to obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions and, in most cases, the employees themselves are required to provide this information. As such, a Certificate of Good Conduct from the Criminal Investigation Directorate is the most commonly requested document.

Belgium

Required

Immigration compliance (work permit and/or residence permit).

Permissible

Criminal checks are only permissible under exceptional circumstances for specific roles and subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

Brazil

Required

Immigration compliance, a valid ID and a pre-hire medical examination are required.

Permissible

Background checks for education, prior employment and basic personal information, such as proof of identity and residential address, are accepted in certain circumstances. Criminal checks are limited to certain circumstances.

Canada

Required

All employers should verify that individual employees are legally entitled to work in Canada by obtaining the employee's Social Insurance Number (SIN), but only after a conditional offer of employment is made. Certain employers may also require criminal records checks through a Canadian Police Information Check (CPIC). In some industries, a more comprehensive check may be required by law (eg, for persons who work with vulnerable individuals such as children).

Where a criminal record check is required by the employer, the prospective employee may have grounds to claim discrimination if a decision not to hire is based on:

  • A conviction of a provincial offense revealed by the check
  • A criminal offense for which a pardon has been granted or
  • A criminal conviction unrelated to the individual's employment.

Criminal records checks should not be done without the prospective employee's consent and, in any event, it is recommended that a conditional offer of employment be made before a criminal record check is performed.

Permissible

Verifying references, past employment and education is common and permissible, provided that:

  • The applicant has consented and
  • The employer conducts the verification in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner.

Caution must be exercised in undertaking more detailed background checks to ensure that the scope of the detailed background check is not excessive and that proper consent has been obtained in accordance with applicable privacy laws.

Credit checks are generally permissible when the candidate's credit history is relevant to the position (eg, positions which involve handling money or involve financial decision making). Credit checks must be conducted in accordance with applicable consumer protection legislation, which requires that:

  • Consent is obtained from the individual and
  • A proper process is followed when the credit check is undertaken.

It is recommended that a conditional offer of employment is made before a credit check is performed.

Chile

Required

None. However, an immigration check is recommended to ensure the employee has the right to work legally in Chile.

Permissible

In general, employers are permitted to check education and prior employment records. Employers may check financial history, health, drug/alcohol usage and criminal records in very limited circumstances when such information is directly relevant to the position for which the candidate is considered. No background checks may be based on any status protected by the Chilean anti-discrimination statute, including checks based on union membership or political affiliation.

China

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Reference and education checks are common, even without the applicant's consent. There is no restriction on criminal record checks.

Colombia

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Pre-employment background checks are permitted, and it is common to use specialized companies for these services (ie, third-party validations of background checks).

Background checks may include educational history and professional qualifications, employment history, consumer credit checks, civil litigation, criminal and fiscal records, OFAC/Global Sanctions Lists, a driver's license check and passport/ID validation, among others.

On the initiation of the recruitment process, the applicant must grant express written consent to conduct background checks.

Under Colombian law, there are few restrictions on an employer's right to request substantiating documents and to confirm the information provided by the applicant (eg, regarding health conditions, pregnancy, drug use, family situations and political tendency).

Czech Republic

Required

Immigration compliance. Entry health check. Where required by law, criminal record check or pregnancy information (eg, where certain work cannot be performed by a pregnant employee).

Permissible

Reference and education checks are common and permissible. Criminal records and credit reference checks may be requested if justified by the specific nature of the work performed and subject to the proportionality principle. Subject to the same conditions, the employer may also request information concerning pregnancy, financial and family affairs of the applicant. 

Denmark

Required

Employers are responsible for ensuring that all employees have a valid residence and work permit when employing third-country citizens. For any occupations involving work with children under the age of 15, an employer must ask for a record that specifies whether the employee is fit to work with children. The employee must give consent before collecting the record.

Permissible

An employer may ask a potential employee to produce a copy of their criminal record if this is considered necessary and proportionate in relation to the job. Information on a potential employee's health may be requested only if this is of significant importance to the ability to perform the job in question. With regard to educational background and activities, data from the application may, as a rule, be verified by the employer. It is common in Denmark to issue job references. Applicants may be asked to provide contact data of former employers. Credit checks are allowed for employees in special fiduciary positions and if there is a legitimate purpose for the check.

Finland

Required

Under the Employer Sanction Directive and the Finnish Employment Contract Act, employers are required to ensure that non-European Economic Area nationals comply with residency and immigration requirements, or the employer may face fines for non-compliance. Criminal records must be checked when working with children.

Permissible

For tasks other than working with children, credit history and criminal records may be checked only in situations where the law so requires and by following the procedure stipulated in law. Medical checks may be used to check employees' ability to work. Reference and education checks are common and carried out with the applicant's consent.

France

Required

If the individual to be employed is a foreigner, the employer is required to check the validity of their work permit. As of January 2017, with some exceptions, employers must set up a preventive and informative medical assessment to take place within 3 months of the commencement of employment, unless the employee has been subject to such visit during the previous 5 years.

Permissible

Pre-hire checks may be permissible subject to data privacy laws and if the information is related to the job position. Reference checks are permissible, provided the applicant is informed. A criminal record check is permissible for specific job positions only (eg, those involving the handling of cash).

Germany

Required

Immigration compliance. For certain employment positions (eg, public services, education sector, medical sector and security services), statement of good standing (Führungszeugnis) from the Federal Central Register (Bundeszentralregister).

Permissible

Requiring a credit reference check or a statement of good standing is only permissible for roles justifying interest in such information and is subject to proportionality requirements.

Hong Kong, SAR

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Any data collected as a result of pre-hire checks must be necessary and not excessive. In order to comply with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), candidates must be expressly informed of the collection, use and disclosure of any personal data related to them by their employer or prospective employer. Asking a candidate to sign a Personal Information Collection Statement will assist an employer in complying with these obligations. A candidate may be asked to undergo a medical examination, but only after the employer has made them a conditional offer of employment. If criminal checks are carried out, an employer must be careful not to dismiss, exclude or display prejudice against the candidate on the basis of any spent conviction – that is, where a person was previously convicted of an offense for which they were not sentenced to imprisonment for more than 3 months or given a fine of more than HKD10,000, and the person has not been convicted of any other offense for at least 3 years.

Hungary

Required

Immigration compliance is required. Criminal records are also checked in relation to certain occupations, such as judges, attorneys, public servants and auditors.

Permissible

Apart from the above, a check of criminal records is only allowed if it provides important information with respect to the given position or work to be carried out.

Further checks (eg, education and references) are also permitted, but may only be carried out if aiming to obtain important information for the purposes of entering into the employment.

India

Required

There is no statutory requirement on an employer to carry out pre-hire background checks, except for employment in certain sectors such as mining, where medical checks are mandatory prior to employment. In the case of foreign citizens, the visa stamp or sticker in the employee’s passport will include the name of the employer, and the employer will be required to provide an undertaking to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) on behalf of the employee to register the employee with the FRRO. Therefore, it is advisable for the employer to undertake a basic immigration check at a minimum. In addition, taking into consideration that termination of employment is not simple in India, it is common for employers to verify the professional and educational qualifications of the candidate.

Permissible

Background checks for applicants may be conducted as long as they comply with the fundamental right to privacy, which means that applicant/employee consent should be obtained. Establishments usually have a pre-hire background check policy in place for new hires. Background screening is generally done for education qualification verification, previous employment status, address verification, criminal background verification, reference verification and applicable database verification.

Indonesia

Required

Indonesian legislation is silent on pre-hire checks. Thus, there are no requirements or prohibitions on background checks for applicants.

Permissible

Yes.

Ireland

Required

Immigration compliance. Criminal record checks only for those who work with children, with vulnerable adults and in security.

Permissible

Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

Israel

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent. Other types of checks are subject to restrictions (including restrictions on criminal records and credit checks) and must be directly related to the position.

Italy

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (eg, certain finance positions) and subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

Japan

Required

Generally not required.

Permissible

Criminal background checks are not prohibited but are discouraged by the labor authorities. There should be a strong need to justify such checks. In addition, conducting a criminal background check in Japan is difficult because records are not publicly available. Reference and education checks may be completed with consent, but third parties who receive such requests do not always cooperate. Some employers require a health check at hiring, but employers should not conduct HIV testing and gene diagnosis unless there is employee consent and a strong and legitimate reason to do so.

Kenya

Required

  • Education qualification checks and referee follow-up for hires
  • Criminal record clearance checks
  • A locally registered entity to support the application
  • For an entity that already employs foreign expats, whether the ratio of 1:3-7 in favor of Kenyans is being loosely observed.

Permissible

The Department of Immigration Services, in conjunction with both the local and international security agencies, are permitted to conduct background checks on all applicants.

Kuwait

Required

Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) and immigration authorities before they may be hired on local employment contracts. The level of background checking and screening carried out by the Kuwait authorities varies according to the nationality of the individual.

Permissible

Generally, employers in Kuwait may not obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions and, in most cases, the employees themselves will be required to provide this information.

Luxembourg

Required

Immigration compliance.

Medical check: When recruiting, an employer must ensure that the employee undergoes a medical check with a practitioner of the occupational health service to which the employer is affiliated. The practitioner will decide if the employee's health allows them to fill the position in question. This medical check is compulsory, irrespective of the nature of the work (eg, office, industrial or construction work). In certain cases, the employer must also organize regular medical examinations during employment.

Permissible

Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant's consent provided that they are compliant with data protection and privacy provisions and are linked to the nature of the position. For the purpose of human resources management and recruitment, the employer may request that any applicant provide a criminal record. In all cases, if the employer makes the decision not to hire the job applicant, the criminal record must be immediately destroyed. If the job applicant is hired, the employer will only be entitled to retain the criminal records for 1 month.

Malaysia

Required

Immigration compliance for foreign nationals.

Permissible

Pre-employment background checks are not regulated, and the practice differs among industries. Employers should obtain the individual's consent if the pre-hire checks require accessing, collecting or processing the individual's personal data to ensure compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

Mexico

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Under Mexican law, there are few restrictions on an employer's right to request substantiating documents and confirm the information provided by the applicant regarding their education, health condition, finances, drug use, family situation and criminal background. Employers have broad flexibility regarding the questions that may be asked during the application process.

Criminal background checks are permissible; however, only the employees in question themselves can request such information from the corresponding authority. Credit checks are not common in Mexico as there is no specific procedure established by law for employers to obtain credit information. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

Morocco

Required

Immigration compliance. For certain limited occupations (eg, solicitors and chartered accountants), a criminal records check is required.

Permissible

Identity and personal information checks. Education checks. Prior employment checks.

Mozambique

Required

Immigration compliance for foreign employees. Foreign employees must have a valid work permit and a residence permit to work in Mozambique. In general, pre-hire checks are not mandatory but in some areas of activity (eg, mining, oil and gas) prior medical examinations are required. 

Permissible

Reference and education checks are permissible, and candidates may be requested to provide a certificate of criminal records.

Myanmar

Required

None.

Permissible

Employers may request their employees to provide information relating to the execution of an employment contract, such as full name, age, gender, residence address, educational level, occupational skills, and health conditions. Employers may also request a recommendation letter from a local administration office or a previous employer and may request a criminal background check from the relevant township police station when an employee submits an application for employment.

Netherlands

Required

Immigration compliance. For certain limited provisions (eg, judges, lawyers and advocates), an applicant must provide a recent copy proving that they have no criminal record that should prevent them from performing their duty (verklaring omtrent gedrag).

Permissible

Reference checks are common and permissible with the applicant's consent. Other checks are only permissible in limited situations.

New Zealand

Permissible. Required in some industries, eg childcare.

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

Criminal, reference and credit reference checks are permissible but are subject to the candidate's consent.

Nigeria

Required

Immigration compliance.

Medical examination for manual and clerical workers.

Permissible

Background checks for education, prior employment and basic personal information such as proof of identity and residential address, health checks and credit information are accepted in Nigeria. In practice, the prospective employee’s consent is sought before such checks are carried out.

Norway

Required

Immigration compliance. For certain occupations (eg, lawyers or accountants), a certificate of good conduct is required.

Permissible

Criminal check is only permissible for specific occupations where there is legal basis for obtaining a certificate of good conduct.

Reference checks and education checks are permissible with the applicant's consent.

Oman

Required

Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Ministry of Manpower and immigration authorities before they can be hired on local employment contracts. The level of background checking and screening carried out by the authorities varies according to the nationality of the individual.

Permissible

Generally, employers in Oman may not obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions, and in most cases, the employees themselves will be required to provide this information.

Peru

Recommended

Generally speaking, there are no mandatory pre-hire checks, but immigration checks are highly recommended for foreign employees to ensure that the employee has the right to work legally in Peru.

Required

Specific companies that perform high-risk activities (eg, in the mining industry) must perform occupational medical exams on their candidates.

Permissible

In general, employers are permitted to check candidates’ education and prior employment history. Employers may also conduct (i) financial checks for jobs that involve handling money; (ii) drug or alcohol usage checks, but only if the individual has a job where use of drugs could threaten the safety of others; and (iii) a criminal record affidavit for candidates and criminal records checks after the first interview.

Philippines

Required

There are no regulatory requirements for pre-hire, subject to compliance with immigration laws for employment of foreign expatriates.

Permissible

Philippine labor law leaves it to the management prerogative of employers to provide for pre-hire checks, including but not limited to a National Statistics Office (NSO)-issued birth certificate, a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, a transcript of records for educational verification and previous employer references.

Poland

Required

Immigration compliance: requirement to obtain a work permit for foreigners originating from non-EU and non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries.  A statutory list of so-called regulated activities to be performed only by persons holding specific licenses or possessing certain types of education and professional experience. Initial medical examinations to confirm that there are no health reasons barring the person's employment in a certain position, although there are certain exceptions – for example, where a medical certificate was issued during a period of previous employment in the same position.

Permissible

Certain limited types of personal data may be requested from the candidate as specified by the Polish Labor Code and other applicable provisions. These include name and surname, date of birth, contact details, education, professional qualifications and work history. The employer may also request that a candidate provide personal data not listed in the Polish Labor Code; however, the processing of additional data requires the candidate’s consent. The employer may collect and process sensitive data such as data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political views, religious or ideological beliefs, trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data to uniquely identify a person and data on health, sexuality or sexual orientation only if a candidate provides this at their own initiative. Information on criminal convictions may be requested only if the obligation to provide this information is required by separate statutory provisions.

Portugal

Required

Immigration compliance. For certain roles (eg, security guards and employees who work with children), a certificate of criminal record check. Pre-hire medical examinations.

Permissible

Reference and education checks are permissible.

The employer may not request a candidate for employment to provide information related to their private life (including criminal record checks), health condition or pregnancy, unless such information is strictly necessary and relevant to evaluate the person's aptitude for the performance of the employment or when the nature of the professional activity justifies such request, and the reasons for the request are provided, in writing, to the candidate.

Tests and medical examinations (other than the legally required pre-hire medical examinations), including drug tests, may only be requested if aimed at the protection and safety of the employee or third parties, or when the nature of the activity so requires. The employer must inform the employee in writing of the grounds for the request.

Requesting that an employee or applicant submit to a pregnancy test or medical examination is strictly forbidden.

Qatar

Required

Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Interior before they can be hired on local employment contracts. The level of background checking and screening carried out by the Qatar authorities varies on a number of factors including the nationality of an individual and whether the individual is a local hire or recruited from abroad. Insofar as we are aware, local nationals are not subject to the same level of checks as foreign nationals recruited by a Qatari entity from abroad.

In some cases, (depending on the nature of the role) as part of the work permit/residence visa process, employees will be required to provide an attested copy of their degree/high school certificates to the Ministry of Labor.

Permissible

Generally, employers in Qatar are not able to obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions and, in most cases, the employees themselves will be required to provide this information. For example:

  • Criminal record: In Qatar, police checks or Certificates of Good Conduct can only be obtained by the individual from the Criminal Evidences and Information Department (CEID). To obtain the Good Conduct Certificate, the individual, if a foreign national, may also be required to obtain police clearance from his home country and provide an attested copy of this policy clearance to the CEID.
  • Employment: There is provision in the Labor Law for employers to provide all employees with a certificate of service if requested, so candidates should be asked to verify their employment history.

Romania

Required

A request for a medical certificate or check may only be made for the purpose of ascertaining the applicant's ability to perform the work in question, and the cost of the medical check must be met by the employer. Immigration compliance also must be considered where relevant.

Permissible

Reference checks with respect to an applicant's length of employment and work performed for former employers are common and permissible, although the applicant should be informed in advance. Processing any data regarding criminal records is generally prohibited.

Russia

Required

Immigration compliance, military compliance (with regard to a person's responsibility to serve in the military). In certain situations, a criminal record check.

Permissible

Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (eg, certain finance positions and educational institutions) and are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant's consent.

Saudi Arabia

Required

Immigration compliance for all non-GCC employees.

Permissible

Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (eg, certain finance positions) and are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible.

Singapore

Required

Immigration checks, to ensure that the relevant work pass required is obtained for the prospective candidate.

Permissible

Offers of employment are often made subject to:

  • The prospective candidate having obtained the relevant work pass and the company satisfying the advertising requirements under the Tripartite Fair Consideration Framework and independently determining that the candidate is the best candidate out of all the applicants

  • Where necessary, the obtaining of satisfactory references and

  • When appropriate, background and criminal record checks.

Employers may also require the prospective candidate to undergo a medical examination and produce evidence of qualifications.

Pre-hiring checks must comply with Singapore's Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (No. 26 of 2012) (PDPA). Generally, employers are required to at least notify applicants of the purposes for which their personal data is being used in connection with the management and termination of employment, and obtain their consent where collecting, using or disclosing their personal data. However, relevant exceptions to the PDPA notification and consent requirements include where the information is publicly available and where the information collected is for evaluative purposes (eg, for the purposes of evaluating employee suitability for the role) or for investigative purposes. In particular, there is no requirement under the law to ask for personal identification (NRIC) numbers for the purpose of job applications, although the employer would be required to know if an employee is holding an NRIC in order to determine if a work pass is required.

 

Slovak Republic

Required

Immigration compliance. Criminal record checks in cases in which integrity is required based on the nature of the work or pursuant to special regulations (eg, public services).

A preventive work-related medical examination is required for the assessment of the medical fitness for work of a juvenile employee and certain categories of work.

Permissible

An employer may request that a person who was previously employed submit references and a certificate of employment. For an individual applying for their first employment, an employer may request only information relevant to the work to be carried out.

Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant's consent.

South Africa

Required

Immigration compliance.

Permissible

It is permissible to carry out background checks. A criminal record check may only be carried out if the candidate provides a copy of their fingerprints. Furthermore, in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPIA), which came into effect on July 1, 2020, consent is required to conduct a criminal record check.

The National Credit Act, 2005 prohibits the release of credit reports "unless directed by the instructions of the consumer." Furthermore, the purposes for which credit reports may be used are limited in that they should only be used for considering a candidate for employment in a position that requires trust and honesty and entails the handling of cash or finances. It also provides that the consent of the consumer should be obtained prior to requesting the credit report for this purpose.

A medical check requires the consent of the individual.

While consent is not required to conduct other checks such as a check on qualifications, references and employment history, it is advisable to obtain consent. Furthermore, in terms of POPIA the applicant should be notified about the background checks that will be carried out.

South Korea

Required

Immigration checks are generally required.

Permissible

Under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), to conduct background checks that go beyond the scope generally required to enter into an employment agreement, consent must be obtained from the applicant. Separate consent must be obtained if sensitive information, such as an employee's health information or criminal records, are to be checked.

Spain

Required

Immigration compliance. For certain roles (eg, security guards), the employee must provide the potential employer with a certificate proving that they do not have a criminal record. These certificates cannot be stored by the employer nor transferred to any other entity.

Permissible

Reference and education checks are permissible with the applicant's consent only. Most companies and institutions prefer to deliver the information directly to the applicant so that they may supply it to the potential new employer directly and personally.

Sweden

Required

No pre-hire checks required in general.

Permissible

On immigration compliance.  References and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.  Employers may ask for criminal records, and for specific roles (eg, childcare positions), it is required. Note, however, that criminal records for the purpose of pre-hire checks normally may not be processed electronically due to data privacy restrictions.

Switzerland

Required

Immigration compliance. Criminal and credit reference checks for specific roles (eg, attorneys at law and bank executives).

Permissible

Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible if they are relevant to the proposed work and are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with the applicant's consent.

Taiwan, Republic of China

Required

Work permit and residency compliance.

Permissible

Non-criminal record certificates, reference and education checks are permissible with applicant consent, although some restrictions apply.

Thailand

Required

Visa and work permit compliance. Age of the employee; the employee must not be younger than 15.

Permissible

The use, publication or distribution of any information obtained requires consent from the candidate who has given such information. If the information is regarded as personal data under the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) (PDPA), the employer who collects, uses and/or discloses such information must notify the employee of the purposes of such collection, use and/or disclosure and obtain such employee’s consent.

A candidate may be asked to undergo a medical examination, but this should only be after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to a selected candidate.

If criminal or education checks are carried out or employer references are sought, the candidate's consent should be obtained.

Tunisia

Required

Every company must require its employees to undergo a medical examination and, in particular, a medical examination relating to the employment. The results of the medical examinations belong to Occupational Medicine. It is obligatory for any company governed by the Labor Code to have an Occupational Medicine service in place, whatever its number of employees.

Permissible

Employers may ask employees to provide information relating to criminal records, subject to the prior consent of the employee. There are no legal requirements or restrictions on education checks or reference checks. In principle, the CV contains the necessary education and work-related information and the employer can request a copy of any diplomas or certificates of work or internship.

Turkey

Required

None.

Permissible

Pre-hire checks (eg, criminal and credit reference or reference and education checks) are only permissible with the applicant's consent. Depending on the position of the employee, pre-hire checks are common.

Uganda

Required

Immigration compliance for all non-nationals.

Permissible

Criminal and credit reference checks are permissible. Reference and education checks and medical examinations are common and permissible.

Ukraine

Required

For non-Ukrainian citizens, employers must check for compliance with immigration requirements and obtain work permits unless either the employer or employee falls under a special category, as discussed in the “Immigration” section below.

Employees must provide a valid ID and – except for in the case of first-time employment – their labor book. On a case-by-case basis, employers may request employees to provide documents confirming, for example, education (ie, specialty or qualification) and health status to confirm compliance with requirements established for a specific profession, position or the work performed. For example, to be employed as an officer responsible for labor protection, an individual shall provide the employer with a certificate that proves the employee's knowledge in the area of labor protection or, if the job description provides that the employee's duties will include operation of a vehicle, the employer is entitled to require a driving license.

Permissible

An employer cannot require candidates or employees to provide additional documents or information not specifically required by law as a condition precedent to the employment. The ability to conduct any pre-hire or post-hire checks is very limited by labor and personal data protection laws. In most cases, checks not expressly required by law are possible only with written consent.

United Arab Emirates

Required

Foreign employees must receive prior approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE – formerly, the Ministry of Labor), or relevant free zone authority, and the immigration authorities before they can be hired on local employment contracts. The level of background checking and screening carried out by the UAE authorities varies according to the nationality of an individual. As part of this approval process, since January 2016, employers registered with MOHRE are now required to submit a completed offer letter, signed by both parties, using MOHRE's standard form offer letter. The terms of the employee's employment contract cannot then differ from the terms of the offer letter.

Permissible

Generally, employers in the UAE are not able to obtain the same level of information from background checks as they can in other jurisdictions, and in most cases, the employees themselves will be required to provide this information.

United Kingdom

Required

Immigration compliance. For certain limited occupations (eg, solicitors or chartered accountants), a criminal records check.

Permissible

Criminal and credit reference checks are only permissible for specific roles (eg, certain finance positions) and are subject to proportionality requirements. Reference and education checks are common and permissible with applicant consent.

United States

Required

None, except in certain regulated industries which may require fingerprinting, background checks, motor vehicle histories and/or drug or alcohol screening.

Permissible

Laws vary from state to state. Reference and education checks are common. Criminal background and credit checks generally may be performed in accordance with applicable federal, state and local law, with an increasing number of state and local jurisdictions limiting criminal history questions on applications and permitting such checks only following a conditional job offer. Medical examinations and drug and alcohol screening are generally permissible if conducted post-offer and in accordance with applicable law; however, as more states legalize recreational marijuana use, the laws are becoming more difficult to navigate. Some states and localities prohibit employers from screening new hires for marijuana or refusing to hire applicants based on a failed pre-employment marijuana screen (with exceptions for certain positions such as safety-sensitive jobs) or require employers to take certain steps before rescinding a conditional job offer.

Venezuela

Required

None. However, foreign employees are required to have a labor (TR-L) visa in order to work in Venezuela. Therefore, an immigration check is recommended.

Permissible

Employers are entitled to use any information about an applicant that is in the public domain, including information available on social media, for verification purposes. Employers may also conduct background checks covering a candidate’s education, family and other information at any stage of the hiring process. This includes asking candidates directly for references or contacting previous employers to check references. Information collected must be relevant to the position being applied for.

Employers should avoid collection of information that may be considered offensive or discriminatory. Protected characteristics from discrimination include sex, race, religion, marital status, pregnancy, political beliefs, sexual preferences, social class, union affiliation, physical disability or criminal background.

Specifically, requiring criminal records or a criminal background certificate from candidates and requiring female applicants to undergo medical tests to determine pregnancy are prohibited. HIV testing is permissible when the position applied for involves matters of public health.

Vietnam

Required

Generally, before hiring foreign employees to work in Vietnam, employers must obtain prior written approval from the provincial People’s Committee through the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA).

Possessing a valid work permit issued by the provincial labor authorities is a compulsory condition for foreign citizens to work in Vietnam, except where an exemption applies. Legal sanctions for the employer of a foreign citizen without a work permit include fines, and the authorities may even suspend a business's operations. A foreign citizen working in Vietnam without a work permit risks deportation. See the “Immigration” section for further details.

Permissible

Employers may request that their employees provide information relating to the execution of an employment contract, such as full name, age, gender, residence address, education level, occupational skills and health conditions.

There are no regulations on obligatory pre-hire checks, including pre-hire reference checks, pre-hire criminal checks or pre-hire credit checks, in the Labor Code 2019. However, specific regulations exist in more heavily regulated fields, such as aviation, security and medicines. Questions about an applicant's past, health and criminal record are generally permissible in Vietnam.