Expats that are already working in the UAE will not need to obtain a good behaviour certificate to change jobs, officials have said.
The clarification will offer some relief to those that already have resident visas and were expecting a difficult process should they choose to change employer.
The UAE introduced the good behaviour certificate requirement on Sunday, February 4 after announcing it in January.
The National cited immigration officials as confirming the primary purpose of the certificate is to prove that new residents have no criminal history.
Foreigners that already have a work visa will not need the document to switch to a new employer, they said.
However, the officials did not rule out the new requirement also applying to existing visa holders seeking new employment in the near future.
The certificate must be issued from the applicant’s home country or the country they have resided in for the last five years. It is usually obtained from the police or a government department.
If the person has lived in multiple countries during this period then a certificate from each is needed.
The document will typically be obtained before the person moves to the UAE to work as securing one from abroad will be difficult.
The document or documents must be certified by UAE missions abroad or through the attestation centres at customer happiness centres for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Authorities previously said that expats who have resided in the UAE for the last five years could obtain a good behaviour certificate from the Dubai or Abu Dhabi Police forces.
Following the clarification, this exception now appears to be specifically for those who were previously on a dependent or other visa type and were now looking for work.
The costs of the document are Dhs100 ($27) for UAE nationals, Dhs200 ($54) for UAE residents and Dhs300 ($82) for people outside of the country with additional knowledge and innovation fees of Dhs10 each also added on.
Good behaviour documentation will not be required from tourists, students or dependents of workers.
The UAE government has said the new requirement is designed to improve the country’s security but in the immediate term recruiters expect it to significantly delay the visa process for companies looking to hire new talent from abroad.
As a result, this may lead to a preference for hires already residing in the country.