hongkong

Hong Kong Employee Background Checks

Country Overview

Employers need to understand the different laws that may impact background screening. In particular, analyzing the data protection landscape, labor laws and Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance are all important when designing a background screening program.

Hong Kong was one of the first jurisdictions in the APAC region to implement comprehensive data privacy legislation. Under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), information such as addresses, identity card numbers and employment records is considered personal data. The PDPO imposes several requirements onto data owners when collecting, processing and transferring personal data via six data protection principles. Before collecting, processing and transferring personal data, individuals must be notified of the purpose, who may receive the data and if it is mandatory or voluntary to provide the information requested (unless it is obvious from the circumstances). Consent is recommended for background screening purposes, and express consent (that is freely given) is required for data transfers. Individuals have the right to withdraw consent at any time, and also have the right to access and correct personal data.

Additionally, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance provides protections to individuals with criminal history in the employment context. For example, employers cannot consider conviction information when making an employment decision if the individual was convicted in Hong Kong for an offense where he or she was sentenced to 3 months or less imprisonment or a fine exceeding HK$10,000 (and has not been previously convicted of any other offense in Hong Kong). These offenses are considered “spent” which means the individual can lawfully claim that he or she does not have a criminal history.

For further information, request our Hong Kong Country Data Sheet by calling (877) 360-4636 or completing this form: https://infocubic.com/contact-us/.

 
Individual Records Searches   Signup

  Hong Kong Criminal (Illicit Activity Database) Records Search 

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Requirements: Full name in English or Chinese (HK ID is preferred), date of birth, release form

A traditional criminal records search is not available in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Police Force will only issue a Certificate of No Criminal Conviction for purposes including travel visas and adoption purposes, and the Police Force will not issue the Certificates to third parties unless the applicant is present.

Info Cubic does offer an Illicit Activity Database search. This proprietary database will pull information from various sources including publicly available records from the High Court, District Court and Magistrates’ Court. While this search will provide insight into an individual’s past, it should not be considered a true, comprehensive criminal history review.

  Hong Kong Civil Records Search - Nationwide 

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Requirements: Full name in English or/and Chinese (HK ID is preferred), date of birth, address

This search is conducted at the nationwide level. Report may include case type, file date, case number, name of court where case was filed, plaintiff, defendant and disposition if a case can be located.

  Hong Kong Bankruptcy Records Search 

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Requirements: Full name in English or/and Chinese, HK ID, date of birth, address

This search is conducted at the local level through the court based on the jurisdiction of the address provided. Report may include file date, case number, name of court where case was filed and case status if a bankruptcy case can be located.

The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data places a significant emphasis on employers collecting only the minimum amount of personal data needed for recruitment and employment purposes, and has noted that reviewing an individual’s financial details will rarely be necessary for employment purposes.

  Education Degree Verification in Hong Kong 

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Requirements: Full name in English or Chinese, date of birth, school name, degree, major, dates attendance, city of school, hand signed release form

It is common to verify only the highest degree obtained by a candidate. Educational institutions will be contacted to verify dates of attendance, graduation date and degree information.

  Employment Verification in Hong Kong 

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Requirements: Full name in English or Chinese, date of birth, employer name, contact information, release form, date of employment

Employers will be contacted to verify the individual’s title, dates of employment and if the candidate is eligible for rehire. Typically employment verifications do not extend beyond a 7 year time frame absent a legal or regulatory requirement to obtain that information. Current employers will only be contacted with express consent from the applicant.

  Reference Check in Hong Kong 

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Requirements: Full name in English or Chinese, reference's relationship, contact name and contact information (including phone number and email address)

This search is conducted via telephone (or at times e-mail) with the individual’s personal or professional references using a standard list of questions.

  Motor Vehicle Records 

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Name, DOB, Address, Release, Passport

Passport could be used instead of HK ID as long as the candidate can provide the same passport that was used while the candidate was in Hong Kong

  Credit Report 

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Requirements: Name, Date of Birth, Address, Identification Number, Signed Release Form

The individual credit report provides a summary of an individual's credit history. Other information provided in the report may include information on the individual's bad debt and collections, trade account information, bankruptcies and court liens or judgments.

The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data places a significant emphasis on employers collecting only the minimum amount of personal data needed for recruitment and employment purposes, and has noted that reviewing an individual’s financial details will rarely be necessary for employment purposes.

  Global Monitor Check 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, address

The Global Monitor Check (GMC) is database product that searches a variety of databases including (but not limited to):

  • • Bank of England Sanctions
  • • Commodity Futures Trading Commission List of Regulatory and Self-Regulatory Authorities
  • • Defense Trade Controls (DTC) Debarred Parties
  • • FBI Fugitives 10 Most Wanted, Most Wanted Terrorists and Monthly Most Wanted
  • • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Special Alert List
  • • Foreign Agent Registrations
  • • International Police Most Wanted
  • • Office of Foreign Asset Control
  • • OFAC - Enhanced Sanctioned Countries
  • • OFAC – Palestinian Legislative Council
  • • Office of Controller of Currency of Unauthorized Banks
  • • OSFI - Canada
  • • Politically Exposed Persons
  • • State Department Terrorist Exclusions
  • • Terrorists Inside of European Union
  • • Terrorists Outside of European Union
  • • United Nations Named Terrorists
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Unverified Entity List
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Entity List
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Person List
  • • World Bank Ineligible Firms

  ID Check in Hong Kong 

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Requirements: Name, DOB, Address, Consent Form, Identification Card Color Copy (Front and Back)

A validation and/or verification of the data subject’s identity documents.

  Directorship Check in Hong Kong 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, address, passport copy, company name where directorship was held, company address, In-Country Residence History Form

A search to determine if a candidate had fiduciary or board of directors responsibilities for a company.

Individual Packages   Signup

  Employment Screening Package 

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Requirements: Full name in English or Chinese, date of birth, school name, degree obtained, dates of attendance, city of school, employer name and contact information, dates of employment, position, release form

The employment screening package provides discounted price rather than ordering individual products. It Includes:

  • - Criminal Background Check
  • - Highest Degree Verification
  • - One Employment Verification

  Criminal and Civil Search Package 

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Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

The Criminal and Civil Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular searches. This bundle includes one criminal records search and one civil records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.

  Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package 

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Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

The Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular due diligence searches. This bundle includes one civil records search and one bankruptcy records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.

 

Hong Kong Court Records


Available. Extract from case register is available to an applicant upon written application to the first clerk of the Magistracy where the conviction occurred giving the full name, date and place of birth, and the case number. Magisterial records are normally available only for three years. If the conviction occurred in a District Court or the High Court, the application should be addressed to the Registrar of the court concerned.

 

Subject Name filed in Hong Kong Court


Because both Chinese and English are the official language in Hong Kong. Most of people have two names. (A Chinese and a English) Litigation search in Hong Kong is done by the name of the Subject. The Chinese name and English name may return different search results. The best practice is to search both names for the same subject.

 

Importance of Hong King Identification Cards in Background Screening


Hong Kong is a vast, multi-cultural city, with enormous diversity. As such, it is extremely important that the identifiers provided are accurate, especially when it comes to names. Searches in Hong Kong are more comprehensive and accurate when using an individual’s Hong Kong Identification Card Number (HKID). This is an alpha-numeric number that looks like this: A123456(7). Many records are stored by using this HKID number due to the diversity of cultures of names present in Hong Kong. Hong Kong nationals may have both a name in Chinese characters and an English name. In some instances, there can be more than ten different ways to translate a Chinese name to an English name, and vice versa.

This is when the importance of the HKID comes in. Providing a color copy of the HKID will ensure that the personal information being used is correct. Similar to the Chinese, it is customary to provide family name first, and then given name. For example, a John Smith residing in Hong Kong will be known as Smith John on legal documents there. To this effect, it is strongly recommended that HKID’s are used to double check personal information.

 

Hong Kong Privacy Laws & Regulations


Hong Kong was one of the first jurisdictions in the APAC region to implement comprehensive data privacy legislation. Under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), information such as addresses, identity card numbers and employment records is considered personal data. The PDPO imposes several requirements onto data owners when collecting, processing and transferring personal data via six data protection principles. The six data protection principles are:

  1. Collection Purpose and Means
    • Personal information may only be collected in a fair and lawful manner. Organizations collecting personal information must have a legitimate business purpose for doing so. Organizations must notify individuals of the legitimate business purpose, as well as, any other organizations that the data may be transferred to. The information collected must be reasonable and not overly intrusive.
  2. Accuracy and Retention
    • Organizations must ensure they have processes in place to ensure the personal information collected is accurate and up-to-date. This information may only be kept for as long as necessary to fulfill the legitimate business purpose.
  3. Use
    • Organizations can only use the data for a directly related legitimate business purpose. Exceptions exist if the individual who owns the personal information consents to a new purpose.
  4. Security
    • Organizations must have strict security measures in place to safeguard personal information from unauthorized or accidental access, use, processing, erasure, or loss.
  5. Openness
    • Organizations must make their personal data policies, practices, and procedures publicly available regarding the types of personal information data they hold and how that data is used. These policies must be available to any individual.
  6. Data Access and Correction
    • Organizations must allow individuals to access their own personal information data. Individuals are allowed to review this information and correct an inaccuracies that they find. Organizations must have procedures in place to process correction requests and ensure that the amended information is correct and up-to-date.

Written consent from the individual should always be obtained before collecting, processing and transferring personal data. Further, individuals must be notified of the purpose, who may receive the data and if it is mandatory or voluntary to provide the information requested (unless it is obvious from the circumstances). Consent is recommended for background screening purposes, and express consent (that is freely given) is required for data transfers. Individuals have the right to withdraw consent at any time, and also have the right to access and correct personal data.

Additionally, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance provides protections to individuals with criminal history in the employment context. For example, employers cannot consider conviction information when making an employment decision if the individual was convicted in Hong Kong for an offense where he or she was sentenced to 3 months or less imprisonment or a fine exceeding HK$10,000 (and has not been previously convicted of any other offense in Hong Kong). These offenses are considered “spent” which means the individual can lawfully claim that he or she does not have a criminal history.

Spent convictions occur when an individual exhibits good behavior for a designated period of time following their conviction. The Court will set forth requirements that the individual must adhere to such as paying fines, program participation, etc, following the conviction. If the individual successfully exhibits that good behavior and complies with all the stipulations set forth by the Court, the result will be a spent conviction. Spent convictions are a way to give offenders a second chance by having the conviction removed from their record. Once a conviction is spent, individuals do not have to disclose that they have a spent conviction.

 

Legal Landscape


The legal landscape of Hong Kong has been slowly changing ever since the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China occurred on July 1st, 1997. This is also known as “the Handover.” This is when British administration over Hong Kong ended, and Chinese administration took over and began. When the handover took place, China agreed that life in Hong Kong would remain the same for the next 50 years (until 2047), under a system known as “One Country, Two Systems.” Under this system, Hong Kong would remain under a Common Law legal system for the next 50 years. This is different from China’s Civil Law legal system.

As time passes, it is unclear how the legal landscape in Hong Kong will change as 2047 comes closer. Some experts believe that Chinese Law may slowly be implemented beginning approximately 10 to 15 years before the 50 year time period is up, to ensure that Hong Kong is fully integrated with Chinese Laws by 2047. Others believe that the integration of Chinese Laws may not begin until 2047. It is unclear how China will approach this transition, and previous laws may be invalidated and replaced altogether.

 

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