On 8 January 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation announced that it was introducing a requirement for new expatriate workers to produce a good conduct certificate when applying for a work visa. This additional requirement, as part of the work visa application process, will take effect from 4 February 2018.
The changes will require all new expatriate workers to demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record in either their country of origin or any other in which they lived in the past five years, in order to obtain a work visa. The requirement is part of the UAE government’s efforts to maintain national security.
The resolution implementing the change has not been published. However, we know that:
- A certificate will be required from the applicant’s home country and any other country in which the applicant has lived for the last five years
- The certificate will need to be attested and legalised
- The requirement will only apply to new applicants – it will not apply to renewals
- Dependents of the primary applicant and tourists are exempt from the requirement
Employers need to ensure they are aware of these changes and factor the requirement into their recruitment timeline. Employers should consider requesting a police clearance from new expatriate workers at the employment offer stage, to ensure that the applicant will be eligible to obtain a work visa. Offers of employment should be subject to the expatriate worker demonstrating that they do not have a criminal record and their ability to produce the requisite good conduct certificate(s).