Strict new security checks that will require every working resident to produce a document proving they have not committed a criminal offence will come into force on Sunday.
All residents seeking a new work visa from Sunday will need to secure a Good Conduct and Behaviour Certificate.
The move was outlined in a Cabinet resolution reported by state news agency Wam last month.
According to the committee managing the process, the checks are part of the Government’s efforts to help to safeguard the country's national security.
In most cases the document can be obtained from a police force or government authority in the expat's home country, or from the country they have lived within the past five years.
That document would then be attested by the UAE embassy in that country, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.
Marriage certificates and education qualifications are currently certified in the same way.
The new requirement does not extend to sponsored family members and tourists.
Long-term residents of the UAE seeking a new visa can apply to Dubai Police or Abu Dhabi Police for a certificate.
Hamad Al Rohoumi is the Federal National Council member for Dubai who first raised the issue with the labour minister last year.
He said the security checks are already mandatory for Emiratis and that they would help save costs and help make the UAE safer.
“Every UAE national is asked to provide a good conduct and behaviour certificate when applying for job. Don’t you think it is also necessary for expats to provide one as well?” When asked whether he thought the additional paperwork will be an inconvenience to expatriates, he referred to the case of Nedal Issa Abdullah, 50, a Jordanian, who was executed in November for kidnapping, raping, and strangling eight-year-old Obaida Al Aqrabawi in May 2016.
“Do you think that the additional paper work is a small price to pay to save a child? A child like Obaida who was strangled and raped by a criminal who was wanted in his own country.” Not only will the security checks reduce crime, he said, but it will also save judicial costs.
“It costs a lot of money for the government to incarcerate and try these people.
“We don’t want expatriates who have committed heinous crime in their own country to come to the UAE.
“Why would we want a convicted child rapist to come into our homes and work as a driver for our children? Or for example or a thief who we put in charge of our businesses.
“Particularly since UAE nationals are expected to provide good conduct certificates themselves,” he said.
“As a government official, national security and the public’s benefit is foremost on my agenda and these certificates will help national security and benefit the public.”