The UK remains an extremely popular destination for international students (EU and non-EU) with over 450,000 international students studying at UK higher education institutions, and accounting for over 19% of the total student population in the UK. 

Welcoming new international students every year has economic benefits across the UK.  For example, the net economic impact of the 2015-16 cohort of international students over the course of their studies was around £20bn.

When screening international students, a university would typically carry out Enhanced DBS checks and ask the candidate to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct from their country of origin, usually from the appropriate embassy.

The challenges with Certificates of Good Conduct are three-fold. Firstly, it can take a long time for certificates to be issued. For example, the time frame for a certificate from Pakistan ranges from anywhere between 4 and 7 months.

For students, the delay means potentially missing out on their course(s) of choice. For universities, it means candidates are more likely to drop out of the application process.

Secondly, some students would have to return to their countries of origin in order to get a Certificate of Good Conduct, and be forced to pay for the privilege. Again, this increases the likelihood of candidate drop-out.

Finally, universities are concerned about the risks of certificates being tampered with or otherwise forged, and the burden of having to verify the documents.

Local authority licensing departments, care providers and not-for-profit organisations face similar challenges around screening overseas candidates, and are now accessing secure, fast and cost-effective overseas criminal record checking services as an alternative to asking candidates for Certificates of Good Conduct.

For many, the result has been a dramatic reduction in cost, increased accuracy and a significant reduction in time taken to obtain robust results. All of this amounts faster and safer onboarding of students, employees and volunteers.

To learn more about improving your onboarding process for overseas candidates, please click here.