What is a Sanctions or Watchlist Check?

Sanctions (sometimes known as watchlist checks) checks are specialised searches that include a number of international, government or regulators sanction databases that identify individuals who are prohibited from certain activities or industries. For example, an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) check indicates “specially designated nationals, terrorists, narcotics traffickers, blocked persons and vessels and parties subject to various economic sanctioned programs who are forbidden from conducting business in the United States, as well as entities subject to license requirements because of their proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” It will also cover sanctions issued by industry regulators, for example prohibited from working in the financial industry. Sanctions checks may be performed by a wide range of employers and are often required in regulated industries like healthcare and financial services.