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Job seekers checked on criminal register

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10:36 CEST+02:00
Looking for a job in Sweden? Don't be surprised if a brush with the law in the dim and distant past scuppers your chances.

The number of information requests from the Swedish criminal register has doubled in the last five years, rising from 38,620 in 2002 to 86,838 last year.

According to the police, the reason for the rise is that more and more employers are using the register for checking the backgrounds of potential employees.

But the requests are not only coming from the child care or education fields, where employers are entitled to know of any sex offences committed by the applicant, reported Dagens Nyheter.

Instead, the register is being used as an extra character reference. And many people who have a misdemeanour in their past are shocked by how long the information is held for.

"They may have taken a degree in law and they're getting on fine and then a juvenile offence is discovered from ten years ago," said Peter Jäger at the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) to DN.

Records of fines are held for five years. Crimes with more serious consequences are held on record for ten years.

The Swedish post office, Posten , is among the employers who would like to see criminal register checks for all new employees. But what kind of crime would result in a rejected application has not yet been established.

"People who have applied for jobs and have something in the register have chosen to pull out when we have requested information," said personnel director Marie Hallander-Larsson to DN.

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