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Global employment briefing: United Arab Emirates, January 2018

  • UAE
  • Employment law


UAE Employment Visas now Conditional Upon obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct and Behaviour

Certificate of Good Conduct and Behaviour – Changes to Visa Requirements

Following a decision of the Coordination Committee Cabinet in early January 2018, from 4 February 2018 non-UAE nationals entering the UAE for the purposes of employment will be subject to a more stringent vetting procedure for the purposes of visa approval. Namely, a Certificate of Good Conduct and Behaviour (the “Certificate”) will be required as an assurance of the good standing and character of individuals seeking to enter the UAE for employment, covering a period of the previous 5 years.

The objective of the new requirement, which is anticipated to be outlined in Resolution No. 1/8 of 2017 (the “Resolution”) is to ensure that individuals entering the UAE have a clean criminal record, both in their country of origin and, where different, a previous country of residence.

The Resolution, which is yet to be published, is reported to be applicable to both new and renewal visa applications. For the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Emirates, all applications shall be made to either the Abu Dhabi or Dubai Police Departments via dedicated online portals. The applicable Police Department will then carry out the necessary background checks and issue the Certificates. The application process for the remaining Emirates has yet to be reported.

For applicants outside of the UAE, according to current information, the individual will either need to provide a previously expired Emirates ID or copies of their fingerprints attested, legalised and notarised by the UAE embassy in their home country or country of domicile. These should be sent to the applicable Police Department processing the application. Current UAE residents are required to submit a copy of their Emirates ID in support of their application.

Sponsored family members and tourists will not be subject to the requirements of the Resolution, however the Certificate will be a prerequisite to obtaining a UAE employment visa, thus introducing an additional consideration for employers recruiting staff from overseas.