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An international watchlist is a set of individuals or entities identified by a governmental body and levied with a sanction. These sanctions may be levied for several reasons including; terrorism, financing of terrorism, human rights violations, weapon or drug trafficking, cyber-crimes, treaty violations and more.
Many governments compile and maintain global watchlists detailing their own sanctions as well as those of other countries that placed sanction measures. Some examples of watchlists compiled by Government and private institutions include:
If a person or business entity is placed on a watchlist, it means that they have become subject to one or more sanction measures. These measures include:
A Watchlist Check, sometimes also referred to as a Sanctions Check, does a sweep of monitored lists, sanctions lists and other sanction databases to determine whether an individual is listed on them.
In addition, Watchlist Checks may also look at other available international lists that identify individuals who may not be specifically sanctioned on government lists, such as:
If an applicant's name appears on one of the searched watchlists during a check, the person who requested the check receives an alert.
When hiring for new positions, the financial sector, Government bodies, or any job that gives access to privileged information may benefit from performing a Watchlist Check.
Businesses may also want to perform Watchlist checks when taking on new international customers, investors or importers. A Watchlist Check can ensure that the business complies with international Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) obligations.
As there are tens of thousands of names on watchlists, many of which may have similar spellings. Watchlist Checks are performed by third-party companies, such as Equifax, LexisNexis or Sanction Scanner. These companies utilise advanced algorithms to scour international watchlists to see if the subject appears anywhere on a list.
The company requesting the check receives an alert if the subject appears on any checked list.
As a rule, no, but there is no harm in informing candidates that a watchlist check is a necessary part of your hiring process. Unlike many other forms of background or screening checks, there is no permission required for a Watchlist Check. Watchlist databases are publicly available and contain no privileged or private information.
Yes, there is a risk of false positive identification. A false positive occurs when watchlist reporting incorrectly identifies a match. There are potentially thousands of names and data points in Watchlist Checks to compare against, making false positive identifications possible.
Organisations screening potential new hires may wish to talk to an applicant and perform their own manual check. This can be done by checking names against international watchlists and comparing ages, ethnicities and other identifying characteristics. If an alert has been triggered, this can help ensure that a result isn’t a false positive.
In addition to Watchlist Checks, employers may be required by law or choose to conduct a range of pre-employment checks to ensure they make the right hiring decision. These checks include:
Watchlist Checks compare the identity of a candidate against the names on international watchlists compiled by numerous countries around the world. These watchlists contain people involved in financing terrorism, arms dealing, human trafficking, fraud, people on law enforcement's most wanted lists, politically exposed persons and more.
If your business is trading with overseas partners or is hiring for positions with access to money, privileged information or requiring high security, you may want to check if a potential hire or business partner appears on any international watchlists.