Tanzania is transitioning from a command economy to a market economy. As per the World Bank’s report, Tanzania’s GDP is expected to reach 4.5% -5.5% in 2022. The government aims to be a middle-income economy by 2025 by increasing engagement in the private sector. This opens doors to great opportunities for businesses globally to hire talent from Tanzania.
In doing so, businesses may follow responsible hiring practices to reduce financial risk and hire the right talent with genuine qualifications. Conducting an employment background screening is a widely accepted global practice for responsible hiring.
Thorough employment screening ensures that the candidates provide accurate details about themselves and do not become a potential legal liability.
Companies and employers looking to hire candidates from Tanzania can legally conduct background searches on candidates. Let us understand various laws and regulations and processes involved in employment background screening in Tanzania.
What Is Employment Background Verification?
Employment background screening verifies an individual’s data like economic records, criminal records, education history, work experiences, etc.
An employment background check is a vital stage of the hiring process of finding the best possible candidate for the job. A background search evaluates the information provided by the candidates about their educational qualifications and work expertise to match job requirements. A criminal background check also helps determine whether an employee can be a potential legal liability.
These verifications ensure that productivity and accountability are maintained in the workforce, even with new hires. It decreases the possibility of hiring risky candidates and maintains a safe work environment. Usually, employers outsource this task to global firms that conduct employee screening while hiring internationally to comply with the local laws and regulations for background checks.
Benefits of Background Checks in Tanzania
A background check ensures that a potential candidate is a right person for the job and a good addition to the workplace. Here are some of the benefits of employee screening in Tanzania.
Standardizing the job application process
- A background check reduces the number of applications with falsified information like educational qualifications or work experience.
- Many companies have observed that when a background search is mentioned in the hiring process, the quality of the job applications noticeably improves.
- It brings applications from authentic applicants who can positively contribute to the company’s growth.
- It encourages candidates seeking safe work environments to apply.
Reducing potential financial losses
- For higher-level executives, the candidate must be as able and skilled as they claim when applying. If not, then the employer might potentially face financial losses.
- A pre-employment background check in Tanzania ensures that the individual is qualified for the job position and has the relevant work experience to handle all responsibilities.
Upholding safety and productivity in the workplace
- An employee screening ensures that the candidate won’t risk other employees’ safety.
- Moreover, once companies have found the right candidate, they do not have to go through the hiring process repeatedly while disrupting the workflow.
- They can focus on strengthening their team and building strategies for better results rather than going through repetitive hiring procedures.
Avoiding the wastage of time and resources
- One hiring process drains a significant amount of time and resources, let alone multiple processes.
- If employers conduct a background check in Tanzania and find the right candidate, they won’t have to repeat the same task.
Protecting employers from legal risks
- Employment screening and a criminal background check are not optional in certain industries like childcare or education industries.
- Such detailed background searches ensure that the employer or company cannot be held legally liable for not knowing information about their employees.
Are Background Checks Legal in Tanzania?
Yes, employers can legally conduct an employment background check in Tanzania on current employees and potential candidates.
Currently, there are no specific data protection laws in Tanzania. It exempts employees from following any prescribed obligations towards data privacy. How an individual’s data will be collected, handled, and maintained in Tanzania is yet to be known. However, certain provisions regarding data protection can be found in Tanzania legislation.
Employers have to abide by Article 16 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania. The article mentions a broader definition of the right to privacy that every individual is entitled to protect. The Cybercrimes Act 2015 safeguards from privacy violations against or using computers in Tanzania.
Generally, employers must obtain the candidates’ consent before collecting their data for a background check in Tanzania. Also, according to the Law of Contract 2019, an employee can allow an employer access to their data as mentioned in the contract.
Apart from the constitution, there are provisions for data protection for different sectors like banking, cybercrime, and so on. Legislations like The Electronic and Postal Communication Act, The Banking and Finance Communications Act, The Cybercrimes Act, etc., mention rules for data protection in respective sectors.
Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in Tanzania
Here is a list of the employee data that can be obtained for an employee background screening in Tanzania.
- There are no specific rules for a criminal background check in Tanzania. However, employers can request one before hiring an employee.
- A criminal background check is essential for some sectors like childcare and education. It is encouraged for other sectors to maintain a safe working environment.
- Employees can also obtain a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) issued by the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters Tanzania.
- The PCC displays that an employee was not involved in any criminal activities.
- A credit report shows an individual’s financial and economic condition of the employee.
- An employer can request a credit check during the hiring process or even after that.
- For some jobs like executive-level positions, jobs in the accounting sector, or similar, a credit check is essential to protect the company from financial risks.
- An employer can verify the candidate’s work experiences in a pre-employment background check in Tanzania.
- Companies can go through the references candidates include with their application and confirm whether the candidates have worked in the mentioned places.
- Employers can make an informed decision about whether the candidate can handle the responsibilities and have the skills they mentioned during the hiring process.
- Academic history is a piece of information commonly falsified in resumes.
- Companies can check a candidate’s qualifications through a background check in Tanzania to ensure they have the education they claim.
- Employers can visit the universities or colleges to verify the furnished educational qualifications and documents.
- Knowing an individual’s opinions, ideologies, etc., is essential to understand if they will be a good fit for the team.
- An HR background check in Tanzania can include checking a candidate’s publicly available information on social media to understand them as individuals.
Information Essential for a Background Check in Tanzania
Specific legislation for data protection that entails the processing, obtaining, and handling of data is yet to be formed in Tanzania. However, employers must abide by the constitution and various legislations specific to the sector for employment background screening in Tanzania.
Before conducting a pre-employment check, employers must have an employee’s consent to obtain an employee’s personal data.
There is no specific authority to look after data privacy breaches. But, the authorities administering laws in respective sectors are responsible for monitoring privacy breaches.
For example, the Criminal Law Enforcement Authorities are charged with enforcing the Cybercrime Act. The Bank of Tanzania is responsible for concerns regarding the Banking and Financial Institutions Act, etc. Tanzania Regulatory and Communication Authority (TCRA) looks after the electronic, postal, and telecom networks in Tanzania under the Electronic and Postal Communication Act, 2010 (EPOCA).
Even though employers have no legal obligations while processing or managing data, they are highly encouraged to maintain confidentiality and handle the data responsibly.
Process Involved in Background Checks in Tanzania
Employers performing employment background checks in Tanzania are not legally required to follow any procedure. However, here is a structure that employers can refer to while conducting a background search.
Step 1: Obtain data
- Before employers obtain data, they must have the employee’s consent to avoid future lawsuits.
- Employers can gather data about employment history and academic qualifications on an applicant’s resume. Employers can verify the candidate’s references and LORs.
- Companies can also obtain candidates’ criminal records, financial records, etc.
- Moreover, companies can comprehensively search the applicant’s social media to gather information on opinions, behavioral traits, etc.
Step 2: Police Clearance Certificate
- Employers can request employees to produce a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) for a criminal background check in Tanzania. Then, employees can apply for the same with the Tanzanian Police.
- Here are the steps for candidates to apply for a PCC:
- Get a fingerprint form from the Consular Section and submit it along with fingerprints to the Forensic Bureau.
- A letter requesting the ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’. The letter should contain information like the purpose of the certificate and the address of your residence in Tanzania.
- A passport copy
- Passport size photos
- PCC processing fees
- The letter and attachments can be mailed via email or sent by DHL to the Tanzanian Police Authority.
Step 3: Processing employee data for a background check
- The employer is not obligated to process the data once they have the candidate’s consent to access their data.
- Employers can verify all the documents, contact previous employers, verify the references, and check the qualifications and certifications.
Industries and Conditions That are Most Suitable for Background Checks in Tanzania
Some sectors require an employee background screening in Tanzania before hiring a candidate. Employers can be found legally liable if they haven’t conducted relevant background searches for these job positions:
- Criminal background checks for positions in the childcare industry
- Criminal background checks for positions in the teaching industry
- Criminal background checks for the positions like a cab driver or driving instructor
- Financial background checks for high-level executives, accounting positions like cashiers, etc.
- Background checks for positions that require confidentiality, like lawyers
Although not essential, employers are highly encouraged to conduct a background check for other sectors to maintain a safe and accountable workplace.
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