A standard employment pack includes the following: personal ID, birth certificate, marriage certificate, birth certificates of your children, diplomas of your studies and courses, bank account details (if they pay your salary via bank account), medical checks (just final OK from company doctor, not details of your illnesses which are confidential), records of previous jobs and recommendations, various statements that are filled in right before or right after you start.
Not all companies include the criminal record in the standard employment pack, but don't be surprised if they do. It can be for two reasons:
1. Internal procedures ask for it - your company may be part of a larger group or a large multinational, the owners may ask for it or past experience may have convinced them it's necessary. You may never know what issues they may have had in the past with their employees. I will tell you about a situation I had myself in the past with one of my previous companies - one of the employees we were about to hire (on the position of storage room manager) had been previously convicted for stealing. We found that out by asking for the criminal record. Would you trust your storage room with such an employee?
2. Client asks for it - we had a situation when a new client conditioned the signing of the contract on the new hires' criminal record - they would work with us only if the employees in their team had all clean criminal records. We had to accept the condition in order not to lose the business.
Besides criminal record, some companies ask even for drug tests. Don't consider it a discrimination factor. It's all normal. They are protecting themselves.
Lastly, what you need to know additionally in order to protect yourselves, the following are reasons for discrimination, are illegal and companies can't ask for any details connected to these: gender, sexual orientation, personal genetic features, age, nationality, ethnic group, religion, political orientation, social origin, disabilities, marital status or marital responsibilities (including pregnancy tests), Union affiliation.