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Employment Background Checks in Serbia

Serbia has come a long way, breaking away from its communist past in 2006. The country jumped 44 positions over the two years before the pandemic and is now ranked 47th on the World Bank Doing Business List. 

Serbia’s business environment is stable and offers transparent market conditions. The vast pool of skilled and talented workforce in the services sector offers scope for global companies to expand.

While expanding in Serbia, foreign employers can avoid the entry of unscrupulous candidates through employment background checks. A pre-employment background check in Serbia is a widely accepted practice for responsible hiring. Employers must restrict themselves to the information relevant to the job description and take written approval from employees before verification. 

Employee screening in Serbia also keeps existing employees accountable for their work and results in unhampered productivity. 

Read further to learn how employers conduct an employment background check in Serbia compliant with the local rules and regulations.

What Is Employment Background Verification?

An employment background verification is a standard for proving prospects’ or employees’ claims about their formal education, work experience, and declared professional accomplishments. 

Employers prefer a thorough background search to verify disclosed personal & professional information for the job position of high integrity and responsibility.  

Typical pre-employment background checks and employee screening processes may include obtaining: 

  • Criminal records
  • Credit/financial defraud checks
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Education and employment history 
  • Health checks/medical screening
  • Personal verification like fingerprinting, handwriting
  • Social media HR background check
  • Political views
  • Union membership

Companies depend on background check laws specific to each jurisdiction or country. Traditionally, companies hire an HR department or pick a third-party global vendor to conduct employment background checks. 

Recently, foreign companies not registered as local entities are partnering with SaaS-based Employer Of Record solutions like Multiplier to stay compliant with local rules and regulations for employment background screening in 150+ countries. 

Benefits of Background Checks in Serbia

As an employer, the risk of hiring personnel for sensitive job positions is always high. A thorough pre-employment background check or employee screening will minimize application discrepancies and employ the right candidate. 

A background check in Serbia can benefit employers in the following ways: 

Improves quality of job applications

  • A job posting with mandatory employment background screening will invariably attract only genuine applicants. 
  • Employers in Serbia requiring a pre-employment background check see fewer application discrepancies.

Higher employee retention 

  • Employee retention is the number of employees continuing in an organization for a longer period of time. 
    The practice of pre-employment checks increases employee retention by minimizing the scope of poor hiring decisions.

De-risk from legal or financial liabilities

  • Hiring a person with a history of criminality or other legal liabilities can cause harm to the company. 
  • A criminal background check for higher-level positions or other sensitive roles can save your company from financial, legal, or criminal liabilities. 

Maintaining an accountable workforce

  • Pre-employment background check ensures that the new hire does not disrupt the workflow and adds value to the company.
  • Workplace productivity is restored with regular employee background checks.

Enforces responsible hiring practices

  • HR background check avoids company resource depletion. 
  • A criminal background check ensures the safety & security of the workplace.
  • Informal background checks through social media ensure candidates with proven public etiquette join the workplace. 

Are Background Checks Legal in Serbia?

Background checks are not part of the general employment practice in Serbia. However, there are no direct restrictions on conducting a pre-employment background check or even employee screening in Serbia. 

Employers registered as legal entities, or those operating through an Employer of Record (EOR) in Serbia, can verify education and past employment records at any time of employment. At the same time, criminal background checks in Serbia are restricted to only legal entities and upon a reasoned request. 

The HR background checks in Serbia must not include status protected under Serbian anti-discrimination and personal data protection laws, including health-related inquiries, financial history, union membership, or political affiliation.

Generally, status-protected groups include Age, Disability, Gender, Genetic Information, Nationality, Race or Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation, as well as Veteran Status.

Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in Serbia

The following section overviews specific aspects of candidate or employee records that can be obtained for an employment background check in Serbia – 

Employment history

  • Employers can verify references mentioned in the job application. This includes the applicant’s title, professional accomplishments, and whether they are applicable for rehiring.
  • Usually, employment up to seven years back is verified during the background search in Serbia. 

Education history

  • The employment background check in Serbia applies to all academic qualifications mentioned in the candidate’s resume.
  • Employers in Serbia may seek relevant documents like degree certificates, transcripts, and mark sheets proving their academic qualifications to work in the relevant position. 

Social life

  • Accessing social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit is a popular trend in HR background checks in Serbia.
  • Employers must show caution while analyzing public information to understand candidates’ personalities, views, behavioral traits, etc.   

Criminal record

  • Employers cannot ask the candidates to submit proof of their conviction or non-conviction as it would be inadmissible.
  • Employers may request criminal records of prospective candidates from the competent court for a background check.

Credit report

  • Employers cannot ask candidates for employment or employees about their financial history or debts for the purpose of a background check.  
  • The restriction is valid under the Law on Personal Data Protection. 

Medical history

  • Health-related information falls under a restricted section of the Law on Personal Data Protection in the Republic of Serbia.
  • Employers cannot ask for pregnancy or health conditions like disability certificates for background searches.
  • In specific cases, employers must cooperate with the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection in Serbia to access medical records. 

Information Essential for a Background Check in Serbia

To conduct a background check in Serbia, employers must prepare for the following at a minimum: 

  • Only a legally registered employer with a local entity in Serbia can conduct background checks.
  • Employers in Serbia must inform and seek prior written consent from the candidate before conducting a background search. 
  • For employment background checks in Serbia, employers cannot request documents not directly relevant to the job position. 
  • In the absence of a specific Serbian background check law, employers or third-party vendors must comply with anti-discrimination and personal data protection laws while processing declared information. 
  • Data collected and processed for the purpose of employment background screening in Serbia must be deleted after the expiration of the retention period.
  • Employers are restricted from discriminating against applicants for employment based on age, race, color, gender, religion, language, social origin, nationality, political views, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, health disability, or financial condition.

Process Involved in Background Checks in Serbia

Serbian law doesn’t prescribe a standard framework for employee screening. The employment background checks in Serbia may include verifying identity or professional claims through official means and other informal inquiries via social media profiles. 

Here are the most recommended steps to follow while conducting a background search in Serbia: 

Step 1: Seeking consent from the candidate

  • Employers with a legal entity in Serbia must seek written consent from the candidate or employee to conduct a background check. 
  • Employers can begin pre-employment or employee screening in Serbia only upon receiving consent.  

Step 2: Ask for the necessary documents 

  • The best practice is to ask employment candidates or employees to obtain and submit the required documents for background verification. 
  • Standard documents for the background screening process include government ID, mark sheets, transcripts, and employment history. 
  • Additionally, a residence permit and Police Clearance Certification (PCC) may be required for employing a foreigner in Serbia. 
  • Asking to submit sensitive documents, like medical records, criminal background history, indebtedness history, and tax filing records, is restricted.

Step 3: Begin pre-employment background check

Depending on the job role, the following different types of pre-employment background checks are practiced in Serbia:    

  • Job references: The most common type of background check is where employers follow up on the declared personal references to verify the claims.
  • Professional certifications: Academic or training credentials specific to an industry may be verified through visually inspecting hard copies of certificates or confirming with the institutions directly that issued them.
  • Professional associations: In professions like law, accountancy, etc., the prospective candidates can be verified by their valid membership in any relevant association. 
  • Ask around: Most informal type of employment background screening which is best suited when hiring c-suite executives. Candidates in managerial positions are more likely to have occupied similar positions and are known in local business circles. 

Step 4: Request a Police Clearance Certificate (if applicable)

  • Employers hiring foreign employees must request a Police Clearance Certificate from the respective authorities in their country of residence. 
  • Usually, employers with a legal entity in Serbia authorize third-party representatives to collect PCC in person. 
  • PCC ensures that the applicant is free from any involvement in criminal activities by law. 

Industries and Situations Most Suitable for Background Checks in Serbia

Serbian background check law does not specify a list of industries and situations most suitable for employee screening. 

A company background check in Serbia is typically run on self-employed contractors or employees hired through temporary staff agencies. Criminal background checks in Serbia are preferred when hiring entry-level and c-suite executives in the financial, healthcare, education, or childcare sectors. 

Further, all kinds of employee background screening are essential for dangerous & hazardous activities in Serbia. 

How does Multiplier help With Background Checks?

There is no elaborate list of what constitutes valid employment background checks in Serbia. Eventually, a lot of dos and don’ts for conducting background search fall under the gray area of the Serbian background check law. 

However, the guidelines for employee background screening in Serbia and pre-employment background checks in Serbia are clear about who can collect documents, data, and privacy regulations regarding the processing of documents for verification. 

Serbia requires foreign companies to register as local entities to hire and conduct employee screening. Foreign companies can partner with reputed Employer-Of-Record (EOR) solutions like Multiplier to undertake background searches if registering a local entity in Serbia is an issue. 

Multiplier is a PEO-EOR firm that offers employee management services closely adhering to local regulations in over 150+ countries, including Serbia. 

Multiplier provides the option to reduce legal risk and maintain compliance with the local laws revolving around hiring and managing employees. Contracting a third-party agency to conduct employment background screening on your behalf in Serbia is valid. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Remote work or hybrid work model in its various forms is causing organizations to closely assess candidates and employees with a continuous compliance check solution. Companies are now factoring in a wide range of data that focuses on candidates and the companies they have worked for.

Depending on the type of applicant and job title, the time for employee screening in Serbia could extend beyond 15 business days to complete. A preliminary background search can be concluded in two business days.

There is no difference if an employer in Serbia conducts its background checks or hires a third party to conduct the same. While employers can obtain information regarding applicants without statutory restrictions, employers should avoid discriminatory questions, tests, or searches—indebtedness, pregnancy tests, proof of disability, etc.

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