Background Checks in the Middle East: What You Should Know

Background checks are a way to verify an individual’s identity and credentials. They are used in many different industries and sectors, but they are especially important for those who work in Middle Eastern countries.

There are numerous reasons why background checks are necessary for those who work in Middle Eastern countries. These include the following:

  • To ensure that individuals do not have any criminal backgrounds or any other issues that would make them a security risk.
  • Ensure individuals working with children or other vulnerable populations have never been convicted of any crimes against them.
  • Ensure that those who work with classified information have never leaked it to outside sources.

Why Background Checks in the Middle East Are Needed

Background checks are a necessary part of the hiring process in the Middle East. The need for background checks has increased significantly in recent years, with the rise in terrorism and other crimes.

Workplace regulations in Saudi Arabia affect both native and non-native families. GaStat reports that as of the fourth quarter of 2016, foreign nationals made up about 30 percent of Saudi Arabia’s total population of 31.7 million. Therefore, the need for extensive background checks by employers wishing to grant work visas.

Background checks are not just about verifying information on resumes; they also involve checking records from educational institutions, criminal records, financial histories, and references from previous employers or colleagues.

The importance of these thorough background checks is underscored by the fact that Saudis are more likely to be found guilty of fraud than any other nationality worldwide, according to data from Interpol’s Stolen Passports Database (SPD).

Information on an individual’s credit is provided by the Saudi Credit bureau, which is licensed by the Saudi Central Bank. An individual can obtain their credit information through this service using their national ID. Consumers are entitled to claim their first credit report free of charge.

What to Expect from Background Checks in the Middle East

Middle Eastern countries are known for their strict standards regarding employment. A background check is a must-have before being considered for a job opportunity in the Middle East.

The background check will include your academic history, criminal record, and credit score. The employer will also want to learn more regarding your work experience and any other information that might be useful before they’ll consider hiring you.

Saudi Arabia’s Background Check Processes and how it Differs from other Countries

Saudi Arabia has a different background check process than other countries. They require extensive background checks for employment visas. This is due to the country’s strict religious laws and customs. The Saudi government also conducts criminal background checks on all applicants. They will not issue a visa if they find any questionable activity or criminal history in the applicant’s past.

This process may be more complicated than in other countries, but it ensures that only qualified individuals are granted visas.

Qatar’s Background Check Processes and How it Differs from other Countries

The background check processes in Qatar are different from other countries. This is because Qatar has a very strict immigration process.

To get a work permit, one must first obtain a sponsorship from an employer. The sponsor will be responsible for the employee’s visa application, residence permit, and work permit.

It normally takes between 2 and 4 weeks, but your temporary visa can take longer to convert to a work residency permit. Applicants who are still waiting for their visas or permission to work in the country are not allowed to leave.


In the Middle East, background checks can differ from the West. Follow are some of the most common questions employers and applicants may have:

What are Background Checks?

A background check is a process that organizations use to verify an individual’s identity, education, and past employment.

How does a criminal background check differ from an employment background check?

A criminal background check is performed on an individual who has been accused or convicted of committing a crime. An employment background check is performed on an individual working in a position of trust, such as in childcare or healthcare.

What are the legal requirements for conducting Background Checks in Middle East Countries?

A request for the attestation of academic qualifications can be obtained through service from the Ministry of Education.

It depends on the country, but typically it includes:

  • Requiring written authorization from the candidate before releasing any information about them to potential employers;
  • Informing candidates about what information will be released and how it may be used;
  • Informing candidates that they have the right to request correction or deletion of any inaccurate data; and
  • Obtaining consent from candidates before releasing their personal information.


Posted Under: Middle East

Post By Ken Shafton (2,363 Posts)