Whether you're hiring in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or anywhere else in Thailand, background checks should be part of your due diligence process. They can verify your potential employee’s employment history and education, and help you protect your company's reputation by ensuring you're working with employees who align with your company's values.
But for global companies hiring employees in Thailand, navigating the background check process can be daunting. You’ll need to comply with the Thailand Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which was enforced on June 1, 2022, otherwise you run the risk of incurring legal liability or hefty fines—which could mean imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of up to one million Baht (about 29,370 USD) (or both).
To help you run a smooth employment screening process, we’ve put together a guide to conducting legally compliant employee background checks in Thailand.
Table of Contents
- Are you legally required to run background checks on Thai employees?
- Is it legal to run background checks on Thai contractors?
- What types of background checks do businesses commonly run on Thai employees and contractors?
- What types of background checks are illegal in Thailand?
- When should you conduct Thai employee background checks?
- The easiest way to run a background check on a Thai employee or contractor
- Background check mistakes to avoid in Thailand
- Frequently asked questions about background checks in Thailand
Are you legally required to run background checks on Thai employees?
No, you aren’t legally required to run background checks on Thai employees. But employers can request information about job applicants that is relevant to the position. This includes reference checks, education verification, employment records validation, medical screening, and criminal record checks.
Before you conduct background screening on job applicants, you need to get written consent from them. It’s also your responsibility as an employer to comply with the Thailand PDPA—which includes protecting the applicant’s personal information, maintaining their confidentiality, and using the information for legitimate purposes only.
Is it legal to run background checks on Thai contractors?
Provided you have the contractor’s consent, yes—it’s legal for foreign companies to run background checks on contractors in Thailand.
What types of background checks do businesses commonly run on Thai employees and contractors?
In Thailand, you can conduct different types of background screening based on a new hire's role. Here are the most common types, and a few other background checks you can consider (more on each one below).
Common background checks
Less common background checks
Credit reports (see notes below)
Social media profiles (depends on role)
Driving records (depends on role)
Here’s each type of check in more detail:
- Criminal record. Criminal record checks are conducted through the Royal Thai Police.
- Employment history verification. You can conduct employment background checks by contacting the HR or payroll departments of a new hire's previous employers to verify their dates of past employment, salary, and reason for leaving.
- Reference check. If the new hire provided references, you can contact them.
- Work authorization. Employers must ensure that new hires have proof of appropriate Thai work authorization. This may be proof of Thai citizenship or a work visa.
- Education history. Employers verify education history by contacting educational institutions to request graduation date, course of study, certifications, degree or diploma obtained, and GPA.
- Credit reports. Note that credit checks are not a common type of background screening. Although Thai law allows employers to request a credit report from a potential employee, the Credit Information Business Act restricts how that credit information disclosed by the National Credit Bureau can be used—employment decisions are not considered a permissible purpose of credit history checks. Be extra careful of how you use this information if you decide to run a credit check on a new hire.
- Social media profiles. Employers can view public social media information of new hires, but cannot request access to private profiles.
- Driving records. If a job requires driving, employers can check the validity of the applicant's license and any driving claims through the Department of Land Transport.
- Medical records. Companies cannot use medical records to discriminate against a job applicant, but if a new hire requests adjustments or accommodations based on a disability or medical condition, their employer can request a doctor's note.
- Union membership. According to the Labor Relations Act, employers cannot discriminate or take negative action against potential or current employees who are union members. However, employers can still check if employees are union members. If you decide to do this, be careful with what you do with that information.
What types of background checks are illegal in Thailand?
- *Credit reports. Thai law allows employers to request a credit report from a potential employee. But the Credit Information Business Act restricts how that credit information disclosed by the National Credit Bureau can be used—employers cannot use information from a credit history check to make an employment decision.
- Union membership. Employers can check if employees are union members. But according to the Labor Relations Act, employers cannot discriminate or take negative action against potential or current employees who are union members.
- Non-consensual background checks. Under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), it is illegal to collect, use, or disclose personal information without an individual's informed and voluntary consent. This means that employers cannot conduct background checks without first obtaining the written consent of the job applicant or employee. Additionally, employers must ensure that the information collected is relevant to the job and not excessive or unnecessary.
- Background checks that lead to discriminatory employment decisions. Employers cannot use data from background checks to discriminate against individuals based on factors such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or age. Any form of discrimination or bias in the hiring process can result in legal action and penalties.
When should you conduct Thai employee background checks?
In Thailand, companies should conduct employee background checks as part of the pre-employment screening process, before making an offer of employment to a job applicant.
Employers should also provide written notice to the job applicant that they will conduct a background check and obtain their written consent. The information collected must be relevant to the job and kept confidential.
The easiest way to run a background check on a Thai employee or contractor
There are several workforce management providers and screening services that can run background checks on employees in Thailand, including Rippling, UnionSPACE, and Orion Investigations. The easiest by far is Rippling because background checks are directly integrated into the onboarding flow.
Just enter basic hiring info like salary and start date, and Rippling will send the offer letter and new hire paperwork—and automatically run a legally compliant background check and e-verify the results. See Rippling today.
Background check mistakes to avoid in Thailand
- Assuming background checks in Thailand are the same as in the US. The main difference between employee background checks in Thailand and the US is the legal framework, types of checks, and cultural practices. In Thailand, background checks are regulated by the Personal Data Protection Act. The most common types of checks include criminal record checks, employment history, references, education, and work authorization. In the US, background checks are regulated by federal and state laws. Employers can conduct background screening on credit history, medical records, and driving records, in addition to the types of checks conducted in Thailand. Overall, background checks are less common and less varied in Thailand compared to the US.
- Collecting too much data. Employers must be careful not to collect excessive personal information on potential employees during background checks to avoid violating privacy rights and the Personal Data Protection Act. Collecting irrelevant data can lead to legal problems and harm the company's reputation. Employers should only gather job-relevant data and get written consent from employees before conducting any background checks. It is also essential to keep collected data confidential.
- Not getting employee consent. Thailand's Personal Data Protection Act requires employers to obtain written consent from applicants before beginning the employment screening process. This ensures that the employee is aware of what information is being collected and how it will be used. Without consent, the employer risks legal action and damaging their reputation.
- Not getting the right identification. Before conducting an employee screening, employers need to get a copy of the employee's identification document, such as a Thai ID card, passport, or work permit. This is to verify the identity of the employee and ensure that the background check is conducted on the correct person.
- Skipping the background check. Because of all the different rules and requirements, doing background checks on global hires can seem overwhelming—and it may be tempting to skip it altogether. But background checks are an important part of employee onboarding, and help protect you and your company.
Rippling makes it easy to run background checks in Thailand.
Frequently asked questions about background checks in Thailand
Are background checks legal in Thailand?
Yes, background checks are legal in Thailand, provided they are conducted in compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act, human rights legislation, and other applicable regulations.
Employers must obtain written consent from the employee before conducting any background check. Certain types of checks, such as medical or credit history, may require additional consent or be prohibited in certain situations.
Employers must also keep the collected data confidential.
What language do you use for background checks in Thailand?
For the most part, background checks in Thailand are conducted and documented in Thai. By using a global workforce management solution like Rippling, companies can run and document employment screenings in English.
How do privacy laws affect background checks in Thailand?
Privacy laws in Thailand significantly impact background checks by regulating the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. Employers must get clear, written consent from job applicants before conducting any background check. They must limit the information collection to job-relevant details.
The Personal Data Protection Act ensures that employees' privacy rights are protected and establishes penalties for non-compliance. Employers must keep collected data confidential and not use it for any purposes beyond the background check.
How do human rights laws affect background checks in Thailand?
When conducting background checks in Thailand, employers must be aware of human rights laws, which prohibit discrimination based on certain characteristics, including medical and credit history records. Employers also cannot discriminate based on any personal characteristics such as age, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.
Human rights laws in Thailand also ensure that background checks are conducted in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. Employers must obtain written consent before conducting any background screening and only collect data relevant to the role.
Employees have the right to file complaints if they believe their human rights have been violated.
Do different industries in Thailand require different background checks?
Yes, different industries in Thailand may require different types of background checks depending on the nature of the job and the level of responsibility involved. For example, jobs in the financial industry may require credit history checks, while those in healthcare may require medical checks. Employers must ensure that the type and scope of the background check is relevant to the position and does not violate any privacy or human rights laws.
How far back do criminal background checks go in Thailand?
There is no set timeframe for criminal background checks in Thailand. However, employers should limit checks to the past 10 years, as this is considered the most relevant and legally defensible timeframe.
What are the benefits of running background checks in Thailand?
Background checks come with many benefits for employers, including:
- Security. Background checks can help filter out job applicants who may pose a threat to the company or its employees.
- Avoid negligent hiring. Companies can be held responsible for hiring employees who later engage in public misconduct. Background checks reveal past misconduct, helping mitigate this risk.
- Improved hiring quality. Background checks help filter out candidates with discrepancies or inconsistencies in their work or educational backgrounds. They verify that applicants are who they say they are, and that their stated qualifications are accurate.
- Avoid occupational fraud. Background checks protect your company's reputation by helping avoid dishonest and fraudulent job seekers.
Onboard new hires and run background checks with Rippling
With Rippling's Talent Management System, you can seamlessly onboard new hires and set them up for success. Just enter basic hiring info like salary and start date, and Rippling does the rest—including running a legally compliant background check and e-verifying the results.
Ready to hit the ground running with every new hire? See Rippling today.
Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.