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Starting a Business In Portugal

Detailed Guide to Conducting Background Checks in Portugal

Portugal is the doorway to a massive European market with world-class physical and IT infrastructure for business expansion. It distinguishes itself from other countries in Western Europe because of its lowest labor and operational costs. 

Yet managing a local workforce remains a challenge, and there’s always a liability risk associated with hiring new employees. Fortunately, responsible hiring practices like employee screening or background checks in Portugal have helped businesses find genuine and trustworthy candidates for various positions. 

However, entrepreneurs and global companies must comply with the Portuguese background check law to avoid wrongfully gathering, handling, and processing employee data. 

Continue reading this page to explore the benefits of background checks and how employers may perform employment background screening in Portugal.

What is Employment Background Verification?

Employment background verification is authenticating various claims an applicant makes in job applications. It includes verifying the highest academic qualifications, employment history, social media profiles, criminal convictions, credit records, and medical history of prospective hires.

The standard practice for conducting background checks involves the following: 

  • Informing the candidate through disclaimers in the job advertisements 
  • Seeking written consent from the candidate
  • Gathering the relevant information and supporting documents
  • Verifying the self-declared claims through an in-house HR team or designated third-party

Benefits of Background Checks in Portugal

Pre-employment background checks and employee screening in Portugal offer the following benefits:

  • Authenticate candidates’ qualification claims
  • Recruiters face the most common issue of exaggeration and information discrepancies in job applications. 
  • Pre-employment background checks in Portugal through education history, employment history, social media search, etc., ensure employers hire the most qualified candidate. 
  • Improve hiring quality
  • Job applications see fewer discrepancies when candidates are informed of the background checks beforehand. 
  • It will encourage only genuine candidates to apply for the job and improve hiring quality. 
  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Background checks on prospective hires help improve hiring decisions as it lowers the rate of unwelcome turnover. 
  • Improve workplace safety and security
  • A criminal background check protects employers from any legal liabilities in the future.
  • Such background checks also ensure a safe and secure working environment for all.

Employers may obtain public information about prospects, such as education and employment history, or verify social media profiles for pre-employment background checks in Portugal.

Obtaining personal information through criminal background checks, credit checks, pregnancy, drugs/alcohol testing, or other medical tests for employee screening in Portugal is restricted unless necessary to assess the candidate’s ability to perform job duties.

A designated third party may carry background checks in Portugal on an employer’s behalf seeking mandatory consent from the candidate. 

Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in Portugal

Here are important facets of performing background checks in Portugal. 

Employment history

  • Employment background checks in Portugal can validate past employment’s start and end date, scrutinize the reason for career gap, verify previously held job titles and functions, and provide relevant employer information.
  • Companies can contact professional references declared in the job application to learn more about the candidacy. 

Education History

  • Companies can verify applicants’ academic records as part of background checks in Portugal. 
  • It usually includes validating the highest academic qualification for dates of attendance, graduation year, transcripts, backlogs, and degree information like type, affiliation & subject covered. 

Social life

  • Public profiles on social media platforms have simplified HR background checks in Portugal. 
  • Employers can browse publicly available information on popular social media platforms to note any information discrepancies or assess social and team working skills. 
  • Employers are expected to responsibly conduct background checks in Portugal using social media, like avoiding fake accounts to befriend prospects or discriminating based on posts revealing their religious, political views, or sexual orientation. 

Criminal record

  • Employers may request the Justice Administration General Directorate (DGAJ) to issue a criminal record certificate to any candidate or, instead, ask the candidates to submit one.
  • Criminal background checks in Portugal for foreigners shall be done on police verification certificates issued in their home country. 
  • If not, the work visa requirements usually cover criminal background checks in Portugal. 

Credit checks

  • Employers may obtain credit liabilities of an individual from the Central Credit Register for employee background screening in Portugal. 
  • The same applies to company background checks in Portugal to assess the credit liabilities of vendors or suppliers. 

Information Essential for a Background Check in Portugal

Employers or designated third-party will require the following information for various background checks in Portugal:

  • First and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Last known and current residence 
  • School name and city
  • Academic majors, transcripts, degree copies
  • Professional licenses, certificates
  • Previous employer name, contact information, and job details
  • Professional references 
  • The business profile (for suppliers, vendors)
  • Criminal record certificate, credit rating score, and medical records

The rules of the General Data Protection Regulation shall apply in the absence of a specific law on permissible information and handling during background searches in Portugal. 

Process Involved in Background Checks in Portugal

Here’s a systematic way to conduct pre-employment background checks in Portugal. 

Step 1: Set up an internal recruitment policy 

  • Frame an internal recruitment policy that accounts for limitations on employment background screening in Portugal. 
  • Employers may follow global best practices for a transparent recruitment process through employee data privacy regulations and anti-discrimination and harassment prevention guidelines for a safer workplace. 
  • Employers shall advertise the requirement of background verification in the job posting or during the interview process. 
  • Employers must seek written consent from the candidate before performing background checks in Portugal. 

Step 3: Gather information

  • Employers must ensure employee privacy while collecting, storing, and processing personal data for background checks in Portugal. 
  • Employers shall collect relevant information only after analyzing the types of industries and situations most suitable for background checks in Portugal. 

Step 4: Begin verifying 

  • Employers may begin the screening process after sourcing all relevant information and documents.
  • Red flag any information discrepancies and filter out undesirable candidates. 
  • Employers may allow the filtered-out applicants to clarify the same before making a final decision.  
  • The labor laws allow employers to reject applicants or dismiss employees based on background checks in Portugal. 

Step 5: Erasing personal data

  • Employers must erase all personal data stored soon after concluding background checks in Portugal.

Industries and Situations That are Most Suitable for Background Checks in Portugal

The employer must offer a general health assessment before hiring a candidate. Additional information like pregnancy or other specific health conditions may form a part of employment background screening in Portugal, depending on the nature of work.

Following the global best practices, employers may extend criminal background checks in Portugal to job positions involving child care, healthcare, or security. Further, credit checks become significantly crucial for filling job positions in finance and accounting and may also be extended to partner vendors and suppliers. 

How Multiplier Helps With Background Checks

Companies looking for scalable HR solutions while staying compliant with local hiring regulations in more than 150+ countries need not look beyond Multiplier. 

Multiplier is a one-stop Employer Of Record (EOR) or Professional Employer Organization (PEO) remote solution. While we do not perform background checks directly, we have our trusted partners to help you with background checks in Portugal. 

Multiplier can help businesses with talent onboarding and team management, draft legal employment documents, manage payroll, and set up a local entity, thereby avoiding liability risks due to misinterpretation of regional laws and regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

The sole factor of differentiation lies in the handling of personal data. Whoever collects personal data becomes the data processor for data protection purposes.

It may take up to 7-15 business days. Depending on the background check extensive, the time may extend beyond 15 days.

Employers are free to conduct drug and alcohol testing for employee screening in Portugal. However, the laws limit its purpose to occupational health requirements.

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