Starting February 4, the government of the United Arab Emirates will start security background check of foreign workers, Gulf News reported, citing official sources.
“The security screening of job candidates means that they will have to produce good conduct certificates from their home countries, or the country, or countries, of their residence for work, or study, for the past five years,” an official source told Gulf News on Tuesday.
The screening is applicable only to new work visas but will be applicable to all job candidates including domestic workers.
The move was reportedly adopted after numerous labor cases indicated that foreign workers were previously involved in or have been wanted in their home countries for criminal offenses.
“The security vetting is a means of judging a job candidate’s past mistakes, character, and fitness, and to identify potential hiring risks for safety and security reasons and to ensure the safety and security of the employees as well as their public and private employers,” the source said.
However, the source clarified that if the applicant for a work permit has lived and worked in more than one country in the past five years, a certificate of good conduct from each country must be produced.
“For residents born and lived in the UAE until they apply for a job, they will not be required to present a good conduct certificate,” the source said, adding that for those born and lived in the UAE for a while but left for home or another country before applying for a job, a good conduct certificate must be produced from their home country or country of work or study, for the past five years. Such good conduct certificates must likewise be certified by UAE’s missions abroad or attested at customer happiness centres of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
It should be noted that the security screening is only mandatory for job candidates and not their dependants or family members.
The certificate is not required for tourists, students and people who come to the UAE on medical or mission visas, issued for the purpose of temporary work in the country for three months and can be renewed for a similar period.
Stricter security checks on foreign workers were invited on the wake of many controversial crimes committed by foreigners including the case of a Jordanian man who was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering an eight-year-old boy in 2016.
Hamad Al Rahoumi, a member of the Federal National Council, who pressed for security vetting being conducted on foreign workers, said there are more than 4.5 million expatriate workers living and working in the UAE, which requires background checks for any past criminal activity.
“The UAE wants to make sure every worker is free of a criminal record — regardless of wherever they come from,” Al Rahoumi said.
“If a job candidate has committed a crime in his/her home country and the person has a criminal record, there is no way for us to know unless there is security vetting,” Al Rahoumi said.
The good conduct certificate will be produced on applying for a job visa, issued by residency departments to foreigners who wishes to work for a company in the UAE upon the approval of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
The visa allows the holders to enter the UAE once and is valid for two months from the date of issue. When the employee has entered the country on the basis of the job visa, the sponsoring company will arrange to complete the formalities of medical and stamping his residence within 60 days.