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It is my understanding that new employers in India require a candidate to possess a relieving letter from their previous employer before coming on board. The letter itself seems pretty straight forward: it's a document that proves that the employee no longer has any obligations towards their previous employer. It seems like you could create one in just a few minutes though.

India is a nation of nearly a billion people. Considering the scale of the job market for such a population, it would seem an impossible task to prevent widespread fraud through the faking of relieving letters.

So my question is this: what controls, if any, exist to prevent this sort abuse of the system?

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I understand that new employers in India require that a candidate possess a relieving letter from their previous employer before coming on board.

This is not true. The relieving letter can be, and usually is, submitted after coming on board. It is usually impractical to submit the relieving letter on or before the joining day because:

  1. People usually join the new job within a few days of ending the previous job. AND
  2. The previous employer provides the relieving letter along with the so-called "full and final settlement", which takes a couple of weeks.

As a result, the new employer typically provides the employee up to a couple of months after joining to submit the relieving letter. Some reputed companies even hand wave it away and don't bother asking again.1

It would seem an impossible task to prevent widespread fraud through the faking of relieving letters. So my question is what controls exist to prevent this abuse of the system?

Laconic: none.

Relieving letter fraud doesn't occur frequently enough to warrant any special measures. Moreover, once the new employer updates the relieving letter in the records, it is rarely brought up again.

The more prevalent problem is experience certificate fraud, wherein candidates submit fake experience certificates to claim more experience or experience with a different skill set than what they actually have. If or when that is discovered, it is dealt with according to company-specific policy.


1 One of my employers asked to submit a copy of the relieving letter within 60 working days from the date of joining. My previous employer sent me the relieving letter by registered post 15 days later. I immediately asked the new employer's HR how they want me to send them the copy, but they just shrugged it off and asked me not to bother with it.

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    Relieving letter fraud doesn't occur frequently enough to warrant any special measures. - When you say doesnt occur do you mean that it is not happening, or that it is not pursued? – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 28 '18 at 15:30
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings It is a bit of both actually. This fraud does happen, but not so often that people feel the need to deal with it specially. The prevalent attitude is to just deal with it when it happens, not too different from "what to do if a Siberian bear enters the office", for example. :) If an employee submits a fake letter, it is either caught right off the bat, or after so much time that nobody bothers pursuing the case too far and disrupting the business. – Masked Man May 28 '18 at 16:24

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