UAE’s character certificate rule a hassle for migrant workers

Kathmandu, March 8

Hordes of people queuing outside the Embassy of the UAE in Panipokhari has become a common sight after the Gulf country enforced a new rule requiring ‘Good Conduct Certificate’ from migrant workers. Migrant workers and domestic recruiting agencies have criticised the new rule saying it adds to the hassles and financial burden on job-seekers aspiring to go to the UAE.

Recruiting agencies said though seeking the ‘Good Conduct Certificate’ from migrant workers by any government is good from the perspective of the country’s security, the UAE embassy in Nepal has been charging additional Rs 4,300 in the name of authenticating such certificates, which are already certified by Nepal’s security agencies and the government.

“We don’t see any logic behind the requirement of authenticating the character certificate by the embassy since it is already authenticated by the country’s government and security agencies,” said Rohan Gurung, president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies.

The UAE government had decided in January-end to make it mandatory for migrant workers travelling to the UAE to furnish the ‘Good Conduct Certificate’ to obtain working visa in the Gulf nation effective from February 4.

The ‘Good Conduct Certificate’ for migrant workers is issued by Nepal Police, while the Department of Consular Services, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, authenticates these certificates. Previously, such certificates were not compulsory for migrant workers travelling to the UAE.

According to Gurung, the UAE government’s move requiring further authentication of the character certificate issued to migrant workers indicates suspicion over the reliability of the Nepali government and security agencies.

NAFEA has urged the government to coordinate with the government of the UAE to scrap the provision, which requires multiple authentication of character certificate of migrant workers. However, related government agencies like the Ministry of Labour and Employment and Department of Foreign Employment are mum over this issue.

“We have not received any official letter from the UAE government till date regarding the character certificate of migrant workers and its authentication,” informed an official of MoLE.

While the related government agencies remain apathetic, migrant workers like Ramesh Harijung of Butwal seem resigned to wait for endless hours to get their behavioural certificate re-authenticated from the UAE embassy.

“It feels like an unnecessary hassle having to wait on the main road for hours, not to mention the additional charge to get the certificate stamped by the embassy. But what other choice do we have?” he lamented.

Meanwhile, officials of UAE embassy did not respond to repeated requests for comment via phone and e-mail.

UAE is a popular job destination for Nepali migrant workers. As per statistics maintained by DoFE, the number of Nepali migrant workers taking work permit for UAE increased by 5,996 to 26,818 in the first half of 2017-18 compared to the same period of the last fiscal.