Highest number of criminal record excerpts issued for employment or licence purposes

Highest number of criminal record excerpts issued for employment or licence purposes
A Belgian criminal record. Credit: The Brussels Times

People convicted of fraud should not become bankers and people with a criminal record for violence should not be given a gun licence. These are obvious facts, but must also be enforceable and verifiable in practice.

It is now easier than ever to get an up-to-date version of a person's criminal record, and never before have so many excerpts been issued in Belgium for the purpose of employment or the obtaining of a licence as last year. This was done more than two million times in 2021, is an absolute record, according to Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne.

"To prevent certain professions and jobs from being exercised by people with the wrong with the wrong profile, just as it is the case for obtaining certain permits, it is necessary to present an extract of the criminal record as a control," he said. Such an extract from the criminal record is given by the city or municipality.

Since 2018, municipalities gained access to the Central Criminal Register of Justice in 2018, ensuring the most up-to-date version of the criminal record is always available to them. Since then, the number of retrievals of extracts have increased. "It is good that this can be monitored quickly and adequately," he said.

More than 2 million extracts from the Central Criminal Register were issued in 2021, 1.2 million of which went to citizens via the cities and municipalities.

List of functions and licences

Aside from ensuring that people convicted of property offences, fraud or forgery, among other things can't become bankers, accountants or insurers, the system also keeps those accused of sexual or drug offences away from functions where they work with minors.

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The government has compiled an extensive list of professions, jobs and permits that are subject by law to entry or exercise conditions, which can include proof of a blank criminal record is required. In other cases, proof of no previous conviction within certain criminal domains is necessary.

However, employers, public administrations and private institutions can also request a copy of the criminal record without this being required by law. "It is justifiable, for example, for a shopkeeper to want to be sure that a cashier is not known for theft," a press release from Van Quickenborne read.

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