Earlier this year effective 4th February 2018, the UAE government introduced a requirement that foreign workers applying for new work permits provide a Certificate of Good Conduct from their home countries and from any other country where they have resided in the last five years. However, to ease current UAE work visa processing, on 1st April 2018 the UAE government suspended the requirement, both for first-time applicants and for existing foreign workers changing jobs within the UAE.

Read more in this immigration alert.

I notice a sense of relief among job applicants and employers alike in light of the suspension of this requirement. The processing of work permits has been faster and the applicants do not have to cope with the new requirement of the Certificate of Good Conduct and the many updates and changes that occurred to the prior regulation and its implementation on the ground.

Across the UAE, this certificate was called by many different names. Job applicants, employers and government agencies were calling it a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ or ‘Police Clearance Certificate’ or ‘Police Clearance Letter’ or ‘Criminal Clearance Certificate’ or ‘Good Character Certificate’ or ‘No Criminal Record’. All of these terms referred to the same document used for immigration purposes.

As of now work permits in the UAE will continue to be processed without the requirement that applicants submit a legalized Certificate of Good Conduct. However, we anticipate that this requirement may be re-implemented in the future with the publication of a revised regulation.

Although the UAE Cabinet has suspended the requirement at the moment, Certificates of Good Conduct continue to be required in some (but not all) other countries in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and larger MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region