UAE minister asked about security checks for expats who marry Emiratis

At a Federal National Council session, a member claimed such checks were necessary to root out extremist thought

Foreigners who marry Emiratis should undergo security checks, a member of the Federal National Council has claimed.

Ahmed Al Shehhi said the move would ensure those welcomed into the Emirati society would not be from an extremist background.

“Therefore, a security check must be conducted before the marriage," he claimed.

The issue was raised during a debate about the number of Emirati men, in particular, who married expat women. More than 5,900 Emiratis married non-Emirati women between 2017 and 2019.

The member proposed his suggestion to the Minister of Community Development, Hessa Buhumaid.

“So what is the ministry doing to curb the number of marriages of Emiratis to non-Emirati women?” said Mr Al Shehhi.

“There were 780 divorce cases for such [mixed] marriages within the same year,” he said.

Ms Buhumaid did not comment on security arrangements.

But she said the ministry has launched several programmes to encourage marriage among Emiratis.

“The ministry organises mass weddings to help cut down marriage costs, and regular awareness campaigns are launched to educate young men about making the right choice when picking their spouse,” the minister said.

“More than 1,000 UAE nationals benefited from related workshops and the number of marriages to Emirati women increased by 3 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018.”

Mr Al Shehhi put forward two suggestions to help improve the number of Emirati-only marriages.

“I would like to raise two recommendations: establishing an Emirati Family Council that would combine all concerned ministries,” Mr Al Shehhi said.

He said the council would provide a legal umbrella that deals with family cases, including marriages and divorces before they go to court.

The second recommendation, he said, would be to “activate the role of social counsellors in family cases”.

The minister said the cabinet has issued a decision on establishing a family council and work was under way.

ABU DHABI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , March 21 – 2019 :- Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development speaking during the closing press conference of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 held at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For News. Story by Haneen