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Background check in Singapore

Updated on:
16 Jan, 2024
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199
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EOR in 
Singapore
Monthly
$
249
/month
(billed annually)
Annually
Pay monthly at a discounted rate with a 12-month commitment
$
199
/month
(billed monthly)
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If your business plans to hire globally or invest in talent in Singapore, you should be familiar with the state's labor regulations and laws. This guide will detail what an employee background check is, the benefits of conducting a background check in Singapore, the types of background checks, the requirements and procedures for performing a background check, and more.

Also, Skuad performs background checks when you make us your EOR partner.

At Skuad, we specialize in all things global employment. We make it easy to hire, onboard, and manage your team in Singapore (and around the world)! Keep reading to learn more about running background checks in Singapore, and get in touch with our team if you have specific questions about expanding your team across the globe!

What is an employee background check?

An employee background check is an important part of a company's recruitment and hiring process. Performing a thorough background check on each job candidate in Singapore involves obtaining various types of records, including:

  • Criminal records
  • Employment history
  • Medical screening
  • Credit history
  • Education history
  • Social media activity

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What are the benefits of background checks in Singapore?

There are many reasons your company should consider performing background checks on each candidate when recruiting and hiring in Singapore. Some of the benefits of conducting such checks on your potential employees include:

  • Hire only the most qualified candidates with the least problematic records
  • Cull any candidates with serious criminal charges or convictions, thereby improving the safety of your workplace
  • Protect your company from lawsuits, liabilities, and other legal troubles
  • Reduce turnover by hiring only the most reliable, well-qualified job seekers
  • Avoid hiring negligent or dishonest applicants who present falsified credentials
  • Provide you with insight into the trustworthiness of your job candidates
  • Assist the best quality candidates with work visas and immigration concerns
  • Save money by making the best hiring decisions possible with the information available to you

The most diligent hiring companies conduct background checks as part of employment screening in Singapore. According to the Singapore Business Times, almost a third of job applications analyzed in Singapore in 2018 contained inauthentic information — primarily relating to the candidate's educational or employment history. More recent research shows that overall, nearly 50% of resumes have at least one discrepancy between a candidate's resume and what comes up on their background check.

What are the types of background checks in Singapore?

There are various services available to ensure your company gets the most comprehensive picture for each of your potential employees when performing background screening in Singapore. We will detail some of the most commonly performed background check services below.

Criminal record check in Singapore

The official criminal background check in Singapore is the Certificate of Clearance, which you may obtain through the Singapore Police Force. This agency can provide nationwide criminal history information for any job candidate. Conducting a criminal background check in Singapore can alert you if a candidate has a history of serious criminal offenses that may pose a threat to your business or other employees.

A criminal record check should tell you:

  • The applicant's current and past criminal charges
  • Any convictions, acquittals, or dismissed charges
  • Any other pertinent details about the applicant's criminal history

Employment history check

Conducting employment history checks is common practice in Singapore. It is vital to verify each job applicant's past employment records and job references as part of your employment screening process. A work history check in Singapore allows you to confirm that your potential employee has given you an accurate and authentic employment history. Checking your job candidate's references verifies your candidate's history with previous employers to confirm the details of their job. This may include:

  • Title
  • Responsibilities
  • Dates of employment
  • Salary
  • Work ethic
  • Performance
  • Reason for resignation or termination
  • And more

Medical screening

Medical screenings are also commonly performed during pre-employment screenings in Singapore, particularly when the job candidate is a foreign national seeking a work pass (also known as a work permit or visa).

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requires employment pass applicants to undergo a medical examination before the agency will issue a work pass. Employers may also request job-specific medical screenings regardless of the applicant's country of origin. Some positions that may require health checks include:

  • Security guards
  • Radiation workers
  • Employees of the Early Childhood Development Agencies (ECDA)

Credit history check

It is vital to perform a credit history check on candidates applying for positions that require them to deal with their employer's or customers' financial data. This may also include a bankruptcy check. You may perform credit checks via the Credit Bureau Singapore and Experian. 

Education history

One of the most commonly requested background checks for employment in Singapore is the Academic Achievement Check, also known as education verification. This practice is especially pertinent in Singapore, where the government has specific qualification requirements that foreign job seekers must meet to be able to work in the state.

Education verification checks tend to reveal a high rate of discrepancies in Singapore because many people from other countries may falsify their educational history in an attempt to meet the nation's qualification standards. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure the employees they hire possess genuine educational qualifications awarded by accredited institutions — especially in regard to foreign employees seeking work passes.

Social media check

Many employers now rely on social media screening as part of their pre-employment process. When hiring in Singapore, employers may request social media history checks to determine a job candidate's character, respect for others, professionalism, and suitability for the position. However, it is important to keep in mind that these searches and any decisions made as a result are subject to discrimination considerations under Singapore law.

Requirements for background checks in Singapore

In Singapore, performing background checks fall under data privacy laws, the most important of which is the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA). Under this law, employers wishing to conduct background checks must comply with nine basic principles:

  1. Consent: You must not collect, use, or disclose personal data without the applicant's informed consent.
  2. Purpose limitation: You must only collect, use, or disclose personal data for reasonably appropriate circumstances.
  3. Notification: You must inform the applicant why you collect, use, or disclose their personal data.
  4. Access and correction: The applicant has the right to access and correct the personal data organizations hold.
  5. Accuracy: You must make a reasonable effort to ensure the applicant's personal data is accurate and complete if using it as the basis for a decision.
  6. Protection: You must prevent unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, etc., of the applicant's personal data.
  7. Retention limitation: You must only retain the applicant's personal data as long as necessary for legal or business purposes.
  8. Transfer limitation: You must not transfer the applicant's personal data outside of Singapore unless certain conditions are met.
  9. Openness: You must develop and implement policies and practices that meet PDPA requirements, and make that information available.

Steps in conducting background checks in Singapore

When preparing to conduct a background check in Singapore, consider following these steps:

  1. Obtain the applicant's consent.
  2. Decide which types of background checks will provide you with the details you need to make an employment decision.
  3. Collect — or, better yet, hire a reputable company to collect — all pertinent documents, reports, and information.
  4. Perform the background check, ensuring you authenticate all of the details as necessary.

Are employee background checks legal in Singapore?

There are no restrictions on either an employer or a third party in Singapore carrying out a background check on a potential employee or job candidate.

Planning to hire in Singapore? Here's how Skuad can help

Hiring a global workforce or seeking talent in Singapore requires the prospective employer to check the job candidate's criminal, financial, and past employment records.

So Skuad conducts background checks when you partner with us for EOR.

Apart from performing fully compliant background checks in Singapore, you can easily onboard, pay, and manage your entire global workforce seamlessly with Skuad as your Employer of Record. To learn more, talk to our experts today!

FAQs

Are background checks legal in Singapore?

Regarding background checks on a potential employee or job candidate, Singapore does not have any restrictions on either employers or third parties in Singapore.

How to get a criminal background check in Singapore?

The official criminal background check in Singapore is the Certificate of Clearance, which the employer may request through the Singapore Police Force.

What are pre-employment checks in Singapore?

Pre-employment checks in Singapore typically consist of:

  • Criminal record check
  • Employment history check
  • Medical screening
  • Credit history check
  • Education history
  • Social media check

What happens if you work illegally in Singapore?

An employee found guilty of working in Singapore without a valid work pass may face a fine of up to SGD 20,000 and/or two years of imprisonment. A company that employs an employee without a valid work pass may face fines between SGD 5,000 and SGD 30,000 and/or up to one year of imprisonment. Reoffenders may face enhanced penalties.

What do background checks consist of?

Depending on the company and even the country where it is located, an employment background check in Singapore may consist of several elements, including:

  • Identity verification
  • Employment history verification
  • Personal credit or financial history
  • Business credit or financial history
  • Bankruptcy searches
  • Driving history
  • Criminal records, including current pending charges, misdemeanor or felony convictions, and dismissed or acquitted charges
  • Civil records
  • Education verification
  • Professional credential verification
  • Social media history
  • Visa or passport verification
  • Right to work check
  • Adverse media check
limited-offer-banner
EOR in 
Singapore
Monthly
best value
Annually
Pay monthly at a discounted rate with a 12-month commitment
$
199
/month
(billed annually)
G2 badge

Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

G2 badge

Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries

G2 badge
limited-offer-banner
EOR in 
Singapore
Monthly
$
249
/month
(billed annually)
Annually
Pay monthly at a discounted rate with a 12-month commitment
$
199
/month
(billed monthly)
G2 badge

Table of Content

Building a remote team?

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