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UAE receives flood of work visa applications after good conduct suspension

UAE receives flood of work visa applications after good conduct suspension

The suspension followed complaints from companies of delays to visa applications

UAE residence visa

Hundreds of companies in the UAE have rushed to submit work permit applications after a good conduct certificate requirement delaying applications was temporarily lifted.

Gulf News said company representatives lined Tasheel service centres after news of the suspension became public.

The UAE had initially introduced the good conduct certificate requirement for work visa applicants on February 4 but there was confusion as to how it was being applied.

Initial reports suggested that existing workers in the country would not need a certificate to switch jobs but this decision was then reserved.

Read: UAE good conduct requirement now applies to workers switching jobs

Domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia had also been granted an additional grace period until June.

On Sunday the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced that the new requirement would be suspended from April 1 and issued a circular instructing visa centres to no longer ask for the document.

Read: UAE postpones good conduct requirement for workers

Some Tasheel centres were reported to have received more than 300 additional applications than their weekly average since the announcement.

An official at a Tasheel centre in Al Khail Mall told Gulf News that it had to suspend a token system to control crowds after some representatives took four or fivetokens at a time.

“People are relieved that the rule has been suspended. But they are worried when it will be implemented again as there was no time frame given for the postponement of the rule. So they are pushing all the applications as soon as possible,” another official at the Tasheel Centre in Al Mamzar was quoted as saying.

Under the new requirement, each work visa applicant would need to present a good conduct certificate, proving a lack of criminal record, from the country or countries they had resided in over the last five years.

For those that had worked in the UAE for the last five years this could be obtained from Dubai or Abu Dhabi Police.

The document or documents would need to be certified by UAE missions abroad or through the attestation centres at customer happiness centres for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The costs for the certificate were announced as 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.

A Ministry of Labour spokesperson told The National that the decision to suspend the requirement followed complaints from companies that it was delaying applications.

“They were facing difficulties and we wanted to make sure we don’t delay visa applications, so we decided to suspend and restudy how we apply [the certificate]; it is a temporary suspension,” assistant undersecretary for communication and international relations Dr Omar Al Nuaimi was quoted as saying.

He said the ministry was communicating with the home countries of applicants to see how the process can be sped up or standardised.

In some nations the process for obtaining a certificate of good conduct can be arduous and involve many authorities as well as attending a local police station in person.

“Because clients were not clear on the certificate itself, we wanted to make sure to standardise the process and make sure we apply it in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on doing business in the UAE,” Al Nuaimi said.

Certificates that have already been applied to applications will still be processed and it was unclear how long the suspension would last.

Dependents of workers, students, tourists and health tourists will still not require a good conduct certificate when the requirement is reintroduced.

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