Trip to the Middle East

What an experience!  We just returned from a business trip in Kuwait and learned many things about the needs of those seeking background checks for an international workforce.  The first thing to remember is that international background checks take time to complete.  Average lead times can run anywhere from two days to two months.  Preparing those in your organization with hiring responsibilities for such such large swings in turnaround time is necessary.  Next, we have experienced a number of elements that can alter or derail an investigation.  For instance, it is not uncommon in other countries to list the date by using date first, then month and year; whereas in the US, we list it as month/date/year.  Therefore when listing out applicant’s date of birth, make sure to develop a consistent approach.  Also important to note is that it is very common in foreign countries to have long names.  Often times, an individual’s name might include both a paternal and maternal last name.  It is also not uncommon in some countries to add the name of the tribe or town one lives in the end of the name.  Again, consistency is the best practice.  Understanding each country’s specific cultures and customs is important and then applying them on a consistent basis to each applicant from a particular country is recommended.

On another note, we also learned a great deal about this dynamic country and about their customs.  Kuwait is the wealthiest country in the world, calculated on a per capita basis.  Of course, this great wealth is accumulated through the sale of oil.  Kuwait controls 10% of the entire world’s oil supply.  Kuwait is run on a monarchy system and the Muslim religion is a factor in their culture, however unlike many other Middle Eastern countries, religion does not dominate citizens’ daily lives.  Only natural born Kuwaitis qualify for citizenship and they make up only 30-40% of the country’s population.  The rest of the population is made up primarily of Americans, Sri-Lankans, Pakistanis, Indians and Afghanis.  The attraction to non-Kuwaitis opportunity and pursuit of higher wage.  Kuwait is a beautiful, diverse country and one we would gladly return.

A word on Iraq.  Kuwait shares a 125 mile border with Iraq.  Many remember Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in 1990.  There are significant business opportunities in Iraq right now with the fall of Saddam.  Iraq is the second largest oil producer in the world (behind Saudi Arabia) and is one of the only Middle Eastern countries with the ability to harvest a significant crop.  Every single day, company’s from around the world are looking for in roads and will travel to Kuwait from time to time.  Our clients in Kuwait are no exception.  An important point to be made is how truly dangerous Iraq is right now.  One of our clients referred to Iraq as the Wild West.  People are shot and killed or bombed for no reason.  Citizenship and religion have no factor.  Everyone is a target.  It should not be underestimated the sacrifices that those in our armed forces and those that aid them in their efforts are making everyday.

For more information about BIS’ Global Screening Services please visit us at

Global Screening

Many companies in the United States are increasingly finding themselves hiring individuals from oversees. Most often employers fail to realize that many elements of their domestic pre-employment screening program can be conducted on these candidates. Typically, global screening consists of verifying education and employment based on information supplied by the applicant and some type of criminal check in the host country and, or country of origin. These types of background checks are critical due to the nature of most of these positions. BIS often finds that firms hire IT professional from oversees locations. Having an individual with access to all your firms’ critical data without proper due-diligence could prove to be a critical failure.  In addition to servicing our US client base with their Global Screening needs, BIS also services foreign customers for their US and Global Screening requirements. BIS is one of six US pre-employment screening firms that is Safe Harbor Certified by the US Department of Commerce. BIS Global Screening Services does not operate as an international investigative agency.


In light of recent news events focusing on the protection of consumer information, we thought it might be important to reinforce the priority BIS places on protecting both your and your applicants’ information and maintaining the highest level of privacy. BIS understands that the information we provide can be damaging if put into the wrong hands, therefore we employ the use of a number of practices to safeguard against potential abuse.

While no security program can be deemed impenetrable, BIS mitigates any potential breach through the use of the following tactics.  For security purposes, this list is not all inclusive.

  • BIS confines the scope of our business to the pre-employment screening market segment (there are other permissible purposes for Consumer Reporting under the FCRA, but we intentionally limit our efforts to our area of expertise)
  • BIS verifies that all new clients are registered businesses and maintain an active license through state incorporation records
  • Credit bureaus have strongly recommended that all Consumer Reporting Agencies conduct a physical inspection of the administrative offices of new clients that will be requesting credit reports.  Anticipating this trend, BIS adopted and surpassed this recommendation in 2003 by requiring a physical inspection for all new privately held clients, regardless of the services they intend to use.
  • BIS estimates and monitors screening activity on a per client basis to ensure it is appropriate for a business in said industry of similar size
  • BIS cross references each new client against a monthly watch-list furnished by the credit bureaus

BIS takes very seriously the trust that our clients place in us to maintain strict legal compliance and respect for your candidates’ privacy.  We will continue to develop standards and practices designed to protect that trust.