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Philippine Government ratifies Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 185, also known as the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, was duly approved and ratified by President Benigno Aquino III on October 11 2011. The ratification was duly approved by the Philippine Senate and is now being transmitted to the ILO’s headquarters in Geneva for submission.

The convention provides that any seafarer who holds a valid seafarer’s identity document shall be admitted to enter the territory where the convention is in force when entry is requested for:

  • temporary shore leave;
  • joining his or her ship or transferring to another ship;
  • passing in transit to join his or her ship in another country;
  • repatriation; or
  • any other purpose approved by the authorities of the member state concerned.

According to the Joint Manning Group, the shipping industry has welcomed this new development, as the convention facilitates the activities of Filipino seafarers. In particular, it makes it easier for them to take shore leave without the required visa and without any unnecessary inspection and interrogation as to their identity.

For further information on this topic please contact Ruben T Del Rosario at Del Rosario & Del Rosario law Offices by telephone (+63 2 810 1791), fax (+63 2 817 1740) or email (ruben.delrosario@delrosariolaw.com).

HR issues could trip pharmaceutical sector in India

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) recently conducted national conclave on ‘Human Resource Management in Pharmaceutical Industry: Challenges and Future Directions’ in Mumbai. The Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), the umbrella body representing mostly MNC pharma companies, actively supported this initiative to analyses the importance of human resources (HR) in a start-up, budding or a well-established pharma company.

Talent acquisition, employee retention and management are some of the important topics which experts at the conclave discussed in the context of what more can be done to improve the organisation. These days employee retention is a big challenge because job-hopping is a common trend, which employees adopt for quick growth in terms of money and designation.

S D Gupta, Director, IIHMR said, “By introducing courses such as Hospital and Pharma Management, IIHMR strives to resolve this issue of talent crunch by producing well-qualified students capable of making a real difference in the field of pharma, by preparing them for the corporate roles.

Aditi Kare Panandikar, Managing Director, Indoco Remedies said, “Indian pharma companies have a great future. At home we have a market growing at 15 per cent, while internationally our companies have an opportunity to supply to the world. As Indian companies ramp-up to get their share of this growth, availability and retention of skilled manpower will remain the single largest factor which will determine our success in the years to come.”

Ajit Dangi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Danssen Consulting highlighted, “In spite of having over thousand pharmacy colleges in the country and over twice the number in management, recruitment for pharma companies continues to be a challenging task. It is estimated that less than one third of the graduates coming out of such institutes are `employment ready ` and have to be retrained.”

Dangi further stressed on the gender equality factor in the pharma sector and said that today there are a number of women graduates in science and management. HR Policies therefore have to make conscious efforts to promote gender equality within the organization. Unfortunately, barring few exceptions that too in promoter owned companies, one finds very few ladies in the board room of pharma companies. We have to learn from sectors like banking, FMCG (and off course politics ) etc. which have produced some outstanding lady CEOs.”

It has been predicted that by the year 2015, the Indian pharma industry would be the third largest all over the world with an output of $20 billion. R&D is the core function of pharma companies and requires high-skilled employees to deliver that. With the dawn of the product patent era in India from January 1, 2005, focus now shifts on ‘Research and Development’ for the pharma companies to survive in the global market. We can no longer rely on generic drugs and innovation is the need of the hour in the pharma industry. India falls short of highly qualified individuals suited to perform these functions.

An organization growth is dependent on the strength of its employees. The first step in developing a strong employee base in an organization starts with identifying and recruiting the correct human resources. An organization must have an eye to pick the right candidates from the market, sift out the less-than-optimum candidates, based on qualification, technical and soft skills. These criteria will greatly reduce the time gap between screening and appointment. However, it does not end there. The ongoing goals for human resources are talent development, employee retention and conflict management. These form the core of human resource development.

Gupta further said, “Human resources must not be selected using ‘one approach fits all companies’ formula. An ideal mix of technical and managerial skills specific for each role makes for a good candidate able to do justice to his role in an organization. And our course of pharma management prepares the students just for that.”

The role of IIHMR is not confined to provision of education. “We work at state as well as national level. We strive to build attitude towards accepting evidenced-based and not hunch-based policies. We at IIHMR also organize workshops on policy formulation,” added Gupta.

The attrition rate in the pharma industry is 20 per cent as per Gupta. This can be reduced by providing a positive atmosphere to its employees in terms of supportive culture, training programmes, a policy in place for conflict management and adequate ‘rewards and recognition’ programme is crucial to employee retention, which in turn, contributes to the company’s growth. As per reports, this year’s salary hike will be the highest for the Indian pharma industry, with a projection of 13.3 per cent hike. With this in mind, it becomes the responsibility of an organization of creating proper slabs for salary hikes for its deserving human resources.

Talking about his vision for India for the year 2020, Gupta says, “Only 35 per cent of India’s population can avail of the benefits of healthcare. Our goal for year 2020 is making good quality medicines available to the Indian public at low cost. And this is only possible for when there is highly talented manpower capable of drug R&D. And providing an education capable of producing such students is the first step in doing so and the goal of IIHMR too.”

How to establish the reliability of International Background Check data

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Today I’d like to share a recent discussion that has been taking place the last few weeks on our LinkedIn Forum, the International Background Screening Forum that I think our readers will find resourceful.

The discussion provides an interesting primer and an insight into the rather fragmented nature of the global background check market and the challenges faced by screening companies outside of their geographic location (country of domicile) that look to source U.S. or overseas based clients international background check research either through direct to source i.e. a government agency abroad or to third-parties whether they are global wholesale providers or even in-country providers.

In summary a rather thought provoking statement and question was made that not all countries are equal when it comes to the reliability and accuracy of records around the globe. It was also  expressed that clients (multinational employers) are paying a premium for international searches and that there is a growing concern from a US based background screening company’s point of view as to how one should go about evaluating the reliability and accuracy of such results on a country basis. From a practical point of view it is believed that there might be countries that may not be worth performing a records search because… “there are no records to search”, or “70% of the people in a country can pay officials to lose the record”, or “50% of the records become “nonexistent” for political or religious reasons,” etc.

These are all very valid questions, (1) what is the reliability / accuracy and (2) if based on available information, local records might not necessarily provide at least a certain level of accuracy should an organization even attempt such research? As a global advisory firm specializing in this area we receive these types of questions more often than you would think. We’ll discuss both of these points.

How to Establish Reliability / Accuracy in International Background Check results

In many respects even after 12 years of specializing in the global background check market many would agree that it is still very much considered “The Wild West” and at its emerging stage due to the fragmented nature of differing laws, availability and access to local records and data required to undertake a legitimate check, costs, and most importantly differing points of view on what is legally permissible versus folks that just want to turn a quick buck for less than ethical work product. In the end the latter has done more harm than good but it’s getting better through education and the effects of increased global trade (increased demand) but also increased enforcement action of those that flagrantly violate compliance and personal privacy.

Unfortunately there is no public available resource that details by country each of these aspects of background screening on a country basis, at least at this time. This type of information is generally closely held by companies that actually specialize in this area of the market and many may feel that it is considered part of the “secret sauce” that differentiates them from their competitors (particularly global specialists). Aletheia Consulting has in fact conducted such research on a number of geographies around the globe.

With that in mind we will discuss the guiding principles we apply when working with our CRA (background screening) clients no matter whether they may be a US based or overseas based provider (ie. a screening provider located in Bangladesh as an example) looking to expand their geographic footprint and design their international background check product portfolio.

We carefully examine each local data source (i.e. criminal records, credit, etc..) by country and by product type with the following 8 specific questions in mind:

  1. Existence of information in target country? (locate possible sources of the data)
  2. How is information maintained?
  3. Reliability and credibility of information? (whether held directly by gov agency but also how credible the third party that may be in conducting the search on the customers behalf)
  4. Legality of using consumer information for employment purposes? (can it even be used for employment purposes?, if so
  5. If based on answers related to No. 4 that it is legally permissible for employment – how can research be accomplished? Direct to source or through a third-party?)
  6. What is required in order to obtain the information?
  7. Timeliness of delivery?
  8. Affordable cost of information?

Questions 1-5 can then be applied to a Risk Matrix and conclusions drawn as to the quality and credibility.

This of course assumes one also factors in the cultural and environmental factors involving a country’s level of corruption (i.e. the practice of paying bribes in order to get out of being arrested or to pay off a claimant prior to court in order to avoid a trial which is actually a common practice in some countries).

A country’s level of corruption and actual fundamental issues around the quality of source data will always be potential factors in international background investigations that one should consider but should never be a deterrent or an excuse for not conducting an adequate level due diligence on a potential non-US or local employee, contractor, or trading partner. Remember many countries including the U.S. have enacted various anti-corruption/bribery and terrorism statutes (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) as well as various industry specific guidelines (US Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations) such as within the financial services, IT, healthcare, and many other industries that require a reasonable/responsible level of due diligence be applied when making a business decision.

What to expect from your local or global background check provider

When working through a 3rd party (in-country partner or even one of the “wholesale international providers”) aside from the usual production guidance i.e. what they require from you to undertake the search and what to expect in return I recommend you require them to demonstrate a sufficient working knowledge of the geographies they claim to be able to support. This needs to be supported by their willingness to educate you and or provide sufficient guidance for you to be able to communicate the local cultural and legal provisions governing access and use of the data to your clients or even candidates. You should then have this information cross referenced and verified independent and directly with the source agency and the relevant privacy commission (if applicable).

In the end there must be transparency with your overseas background check providers. If not than you or your organization may be placed in a risky situation of possibly violating an applicant’s personal privacy rights or even worse an organization failing to be able to demonstrate that they applied the necessary level of due diligence in their background screening process.

I am not a firm believer in “blind faith” or “blind trust” as someone mentioned in the discussion about relying on their provider without verifying the facts.  This is an unwise practice and creates significant risk for you and your client. Our clients come to us for expert advice and if we don’t know the answer to their question than we should know how to derive the right (accurate/truthful) answer or tell them we simply don’t know.

Some folk’s spoke of records not being available in certain geographies and that is absolutely accurate. In fact one of my most famous recommendations to clients is that “any firm that purports to offer and deliver criminal records for employment purposes from every country on the planet, don’t walk away, run away!” This simply isn’t legally permissible in a multitude of countries and is an outright criminal offense. As a provider of international background screening services however it is our job to be able to speak to both the local environment as well as our experience to be able to offer best practice advice for our clients in order to address and in some cases offer next best available options to consider.

In conclusion, just because criminal records in a country may be paperwork intensive, expensive, take an extremely long time to accomplish, or worst case scenario not very accurate due to the reasons discussed today as long as the organization has applied that reasonable level of due diligence..meaning that if it is legally permitted and available for employment the organization should have the check done by a responsible provider. The question then may become what source and as long as you’ve applied the guidelines we discussed above during the sourcing and selection process you should be okay. If as a provider you don’t have the in-house expertise of the local geographies than we believe you have one of two options (1) spend the time to research the various geographies on your own (although it will be a very long, painful, and expensive process), or (2) hire or partner with local and or global subject matter expert that has already done the leg work and who is able and willing to be your subject matter specialist.

International Background Check Market Outlook

All and all the international background check market even with its rather interesting challenges continues to grow and further develop in leaps and bounds nearly by the month. I am a firm believer that through continued education of our buyers, providers, applying best practice concepts, and striving to do the right thing as a business owner and as an industry will many of these challenges have less of an impact on the emerging international background check market.

For more information about Aletheia Consulting Group’s advisory services in international background screening please feel free to visit our website or email us at Info@AletheiaConsultingGroup.co .

Background Screening Overseas Is Limited

January 13, 2012 2 comments

The following article is from Workplace Management and explores the landscape of background screening overseas. More and more screening companies that have popped up over the last decade are now marketing their services for international background screening from nearly every country on the planet, but employers should be aware of the information they can legally generate is likely to be more limited.

International background screeningBackground Screening Overseas Is Limited

‘What works in the United States doesn’t work abroad. … In Europe, what’s private stays private,’ an attorney says.
By Fay Hansen
The background screening industry in the United States is a relatively unregulated multibillion-dollar sector that has no comparable foreign counterpart. U.S.-based employers with screening policies designed to meet their domestic needs and the U.S. legal framework face a completely different reality when they move abroad. Particularly in the European Union and increasingly across the developing world, a job applicant’s right to privacy trumps an employer’s right to collect information about a potential employee. ”What works in the United States doesn’t work abroad,” says Andrew Boling, partner at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago. “You have to assume that your screening practices will be restricted. And in the European Union, background screening is much more limited, even for an applicant who is applying for a job in the United States. Criminal background checks are limited if they are allowed at all. Credit checks are even more restricted and seldom done, with very limited exceptions.”

In many overseas locations, employers are not plagued by the same levels of employee theft and fraud and workplace violence that prompt high levels of screening in the United States. “Anecdotally, if you look at issues like workplace violence, the incidence is much lower in Europe,” Boling says. In addition, sharp differences in legal liabilities diminish the need for screening. “The negligent hiring concept is a very U.S.-centric risk,” Boling says, “so screening issues abroad are not as grave as in the United States.”


“What works in the United States doesn’t work abroad. … In Europe, what’s private stays private.”
—Andrew Boling, partner,
Baker & McKenzie, Chicago


The severe limitations placed on screening in other countries arise from a fundamental appreciation for and deference to individual privacy rights. “Outside of the United States, individual privacy rights enjoy the same protections that we give to our First Amendment rights,” Boling says. “In Europe, what’s private stays private.” In France, for example, credit checks generally are not permissible even if a job applicant consents.

The levels of consumer debt are also generally lower outside the U.S., and personal bankruptcy is much more uncommon, so credit checks commonly generate a lower number of negative hits in the countries where they are permissible. Non-U.S. employers also take a different approach to the financial status of job applicants. “How you manage your personal finances is considered to be irrelevant to how you qualify for or perform on a job,” Boling says.

U.S. employers operating abroad often do the maximum amount of screening allowed by law, but they are likely to encounter greater limitations going forward, Boling notes. Although laws concerning background screening are still emerging in the developing world, he sees a trend toward adopting the more restrictive approach to screening that is common in Europe rather than the more unregulated U.S. approach.

“In Asia, there is embryonic legislation that is following the European model, but is somewhat less restrictive,” he says. China’s 2008 workforce legislation, for example, embraced the European model of employment rights. U.S.-based screening companies are now marketing their services outside the United States, but employers should be aware that the information they can legally generate is likely to be more limited.

Workforce Management, February 16, 2009, p. 37

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