The UAE has postponed the mandatory requirement for a good conduct certificate for employment visas from April 1 until further notice, sources told Gulf News Sunday.
“The Cabinet has issued a decision temporarily suspending the security background checks of foreign workers applying for new work visas,” a source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said. The source said the Cabinet did not set a time frame as to when the security vetting will be resumed. There was no reason as to why the checks were suspended.
The UAE Government started security background checks of foreign workers applying for new work visas in the country from February 4. Saif Al Suwaidi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, told Gulf News, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the main authority tasked with implementing the Cabinet decision on security background checks.
“Other entities including the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Human Resources are assisting in enforcing the move,” he said.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) issued a circular in this regard to all Tasheel centres processing work permits and employment visas by Sunday noon. “We would like to inform you of the decision of the Cabinet No. 20 (4) of 2018 of Session No. 4, which temporarily suspends the Cabinet decision (Ministerial Resolution) No. 1/8 of 2017 of Session No. 8 regarding the addition of the requirement to obtain a certificate of good conduct for expatriate workers who wish to obtain a work visa in the country, starting from 1 April 2018,” read the English translation of the Arabic circular.
Tasheel officials confirmed to Gulf News that they received the circular from MoHRE before noon. “The [application] system was down for some time after that,” said Abdul Gafoor, a supervisor at Tasheel Centre in Al Mamzar.
“When it was up again after about one and a half hour, the system was upgraded and the step for scanning good conduct certificate had been removed,” he said.
Supervisors at the Tasheel Centre in Al Khail Mall, Al Quoz, also confirmed the same. By 12 noon, the system stopped asking for the scanned copy of good conduct certificate for applicants of all nationalities, they said.
Officials added that they had started processing applications without good conduct certificates from applicants of certain nationalities from last week.
Earlier on Sunday morning, the ministry had tweeted about postponing the requirement of good conduct certificate from the first of April till further notice. However, the tweets, which were sent out in reply to enquiries by customers, were removed later. The Indian Consulate in Dubai tweeted: “It is confirmed that we have received communication from [the] Government of UAE, that good conduct certificate for employment visas is temporarily suspended”.
The Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul confirmed to Gulf News that the Indian missions had received a “note verbale” in this regard. The call centres of MoHRE and Tasheel, meanwhile, also confirmed the decision to suspend the rule, and several PROs said that they could apply for work permits without submitting good conduct certificates.
The rule making it mandatory to obtain a certificate of good conduct for expatriates to get a work permit in the UAE had come into effect after the UAE Coordination Committee in January approved a Cabinet Resolution issued in 2017.
The rule stipulates that expatriates who apply for work visa in the UAE must first obtain a certificate of good conduct — issued either by their home country or the country where they lived for the last five years.
The committee, which consists of members representing relevant UAE government bodies, said the move comes as part of efforts to create a safer society. The certificate was made mandatory only for expatriates seeking work permits to reside in the country. Their dependents were exempted from the new rule.
On February 19, it was announced that domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia do not need to submit the certificate when applying for a work visa until June 2018.