Nurses and care workers coming to the UK from outside the EU are among those who will face a criminal record check from next month.
The new rule affects those applying to work with children and vulnerable adults from outside Europe under skilled visas, The Times reported.
Immigration minister Robert Goodwill said: “Our priority is keeping families, communities and our country safe.
“Foreign criminals have absolutely no right to be working with society’s most vulnerable.
“While we already reserve the right to refuse a visa to anyone who is convicted of a criminal offence, the introduction of overseas criminal record checks for those looking to work with children and vulnerable adults add an extra safeguard.”
Entrants will be expected to provide criminal record checks from countries they have lived in for more than a year over the past decade.
The Home Office said the demand could be dropped if it was not “reasonably practical” to obtain documents.
Entry to the UK can be refused for applicants with a jail sentence over four years and more.
In a further change, the length of time a migrant can overstay their visa before being stopped from re-entering the country for 12 months is being reduced from 90 to 30 days.