When you're going through the process of applying for teaching jobs in Asia, you might wonder whether or not you need a police check done. It makes sense that anybody working with children should have a criminal record check performed, but does everyone require it?
In this article, we'll go over what kind of checks might be required, and anything else you need to consider.
Which Countries Require What?
First of all, we should point out that there is no "general rule" for background checks. It's difficult to give you an exact answer on this because some countries do require it, and some don't. On top of that, the different visas available within each country have their own different requirements. Schools and recruitment agencies will also have varying rules.
This means that if we were to state that some countries don't require it, you could end up being surprised if asked for one.
Instead, we'll talk about the kind of things you might be asked to provide.
What Are Schools Interested In?
Whether or not a background check is necessary for a visa, most schools are more interested in your references as a sign of your trustworthiness. They want to know that you are reliable, have a good character, and are able to provide references in the first place.
As a quick tip, if a school DOESN'T want to check your references, this is something to be wary of. Any reputable company will at the very least want you to provide one or more references, so you have to ask why any school or recruiter doesn't do this. Are they desperate for candidates? Are they a sloppy organization? Or do they just not value quality?
As with most jobs worth applying for, you should regard their reference checking as a sign of quality, and validation that the job is worthwhile.
Of course, if a school a recruiter wants you to provide a CRB (Criminal Record Background) check, this should also be viewed as a good thing. Wanting to know if someone has ever been arrested is a natural part of the hiring process.
Should You Get One Anyway?
There are very few cons to getting a criminal background check performed. Doing so in advance will mean that you are prepared for any case, which can make the difference in getting hired. As it sometimes takes 6 weeks for a background check to be completed, you could end up being hired simply because you are the only candidate who already has theirs done.
On top of that, if you provide one where other candidates don't, this gives you a leg up and could be the difference between getting your application moved to the next stage or not.
There is no "You absolutely must get one done" rule here, but you should be able to see that it would be advantageous to do so.
As most criminal background checks last 6 months, it's something that should be able to last for your entire application process.
How Can You Get One?
Again this really depends on what type of check you want (there are a few available), and what country you need to have it done in. There is a very useful article here which talks about the steps required for getting one in different countries, including all native English speaking countries.
Please note that as laws are forever changing, you should always check the website of the department handling your check to verify the process.
On that note, you should also check the immigration website of the country you want to visit as well, rather than relying on information from forums or blogs which might be outdated.
You really need to check, and double-check with the country you want to head to, because local laws vary greatly throughout Asia. That said, even if you get one when it might not be necessary, this will prepare you well for the application process anyway. There are definitely recruitment agencies (and schools) out there that will give preference to a candidate who has one.
It's always going to be better safe than sorry. In the worst case scenario, it shows that you are well prepared, are serious about your application and of course, have a clean record.