UAE suspends good conduct certificate, thousands of Indians to benefit
The United Arab Emirates has suspended the mandatory requirement of good conduct certificates for work visas until further notice, a move that is expected to benefit thousands of Indian workers who go to the country every year.
The UAE’s human resources and emiratisation ministry announced on Sunday the change would be effective from April 1. The document, also known as a “police clearance certificate” had been made mandatory from February 4.
Any Indian going to the UAE for work was required to present a certificate from the nearest police station showing they had no criminal history or convictions.
A statement issued by Rehab Ali al-Mansoori, the director of the UAE visa centre in New Delhi stated: “This is to inform all the authorised agents of the UAE Consular Section that from 02/04/2018, police clearance certificate attestation is not required temporarily for work visa process.”
Officials of the UAE embassy said the new rules were applicable to citizens of some Saarc countries, including India and Pakistan.
The UAE has three visa centres at Delhi, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram. The one in the national capital alone issued about 50,000 work visas last year. A total of 1.6 million Indians visited the UAE last year.
The UAE is home to an Indian expatriate community of more than 2.6 million, the largest in the country. Professionally qualified workers make up about 20% of the community, followed by 20% white-collar non-professionals while the remainder are blue-collar workers.
Gulf News reported that the decision to temporarily suspend the security checks of foreigners applying for work visas was made by the UAE cabinet, which did not set a timeframe as to when the security vetting will be resumed.
In the past, checks on Indians applying for work visas were done in the UAE and a change was made in February to cut down hardships for applicants so that they could begin work as soon as they arrived in the emirates, UAE officials had said.
However, the introduction of the police clearance certificates had created confusion in some countries, media reports said.
“There were a lot of Pakistanis who were applying for the certificate and there was no clarity how to get it done without delay,” Mohammed Saeed Sarwar, deputy head of the Pakistani embassy in Abu Dhabi, was quoted as saying by The National newspaper.
He said a number of Pakistanis faced complications while acquiring the certificate to come to work in the UAE.
Mark Ben-Aicha, a consultant at Kingston Stanley Recruitment, told The National there had been “a few teething issues in the actual roll out” of the requirement, and there wasn’t enough communication on whether the certificate was required only by those moving to the UAE, or those transferring jobs within the emirates.
“There was a lot of uncertainty on who needed to issue it,” he said.