UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Upcoming Police Clearance Certificate Requirement; Recent Changes to Immigration Processes
Effective 4 February 2018, new employment applications must be supported by a legalised police clearance certificate from any country where the applicant has lived in the past five years.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) and Ministry of Interior (MOI), and free zone authorities have all made some important changes that affect how applications are processed.
Police Clearance Certificates
Effective 4 February 2018, all new employment applications must be supported by a “good conduct certificate” (police clearance certificate) from any country where the applicant has lived in the past five years.
- The certificate must be legalised by the UAE consulate in the country of issuance, as well as by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in the UAE.
- Employees born and resident in the UAE do not need a good conduct certificate unless they have spent some time in another country.
- If the employee has been resident in the UAE for five or more years, the good conduct certificate will be issued from the UAE, and be legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) legalisation.
- Students, tourists, holders of medical or mission visas and dependent family members of foreign workers do not require a certificate of good conduct.
The Ministry of Labour (MOL) in Abu Dhabi has recently replaced the FAWRI system with the E-Channels system. Like FAWRI, E-Channels serves as a portal for applications with MOL.
The Ministry of Interior now requires the sponsor’s original Emirates ID to create, cancel, or modify any dependent applications. This includes the process of creating and submitting the application and stamping the visa in the passport. Renewal applications for dependents over the age of 18 also require the dependent’s original Emirates ID.
All supporting documents (including degree certificates, marriage certificates and birth certificates) submitted to government offices (MOI & MOL) and free zone authorities must be in Arabic. If these documents were issued in another language, a legal translation must be completed so that they will be accepted for application purposes.
For companies operating under the umbrella of TECOM (DIC/DCCA/DSP) there have been updates to the processing times and application requirements for all applications. The most notable update is that the option for Internal Visa Transfer has been removed and is now covered by the Government Transfer process, which requires a medical test and security check.
All applications have been streamlined by moving most of the application process online, with minimal original documents required.
- Employers hiring foreign nationals in UAE should allow enough time for their employees to obtain a certificate of good conduct from each country where they have been resident in the last five years. This may take several weeks.
- Companies in Abu Dhabi that have not yet registered with E-Channels should do so as soon as possible.
- Employers sponsoring employment immigration applications should contact their immigration specialist to confirm how these changes may affect them.