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Housemaids will need good-conduct certificate to enter UAE, minister says

A trial with nannies and maids coming from Kenya is already under way

Domestic workers of all nationalities will soon need a good-conduct certificate to enter the UAE.

The ruling was announced by the labour minister during a virtual session of the Federal National Council on Tuesday.

A trial with nannies and maids coming from Kenya is already under way.

It will gradually be extended to domestic workers of other nationalities, who will be asked to obtain the certificate from their home country.

“A decision was issued from the Cabinet in this regard, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation is co-ordinating its application with the concerned parties,” said Nasser Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

“The measure has already been applied to Kenyan housemaids but it will come into force in phases.”

The minister made the statement after he was questioned by Kifah Al Zaabi, an FNC member.

“There have been a number of crimes committed by foreign domestic workers due to psychological issues or criminal backgrounds. What is being done to check their criminal history and mental health?” asked Ms Al Zaabi.

As a preventive measure, housemaids will also be screened for mental health before taking up a job in the UAE.

“We agree this is very important and we included [mental health checks] as a condition in international agreements signed recently,” the minister said.

Mr Al Hamli said agreements have been signed with more than 13 countries to ensure the good health and psychological well-being of domestic workers before they come to the UAE.

“This is something that we seek to achieve,” he said.

In 2018, a maid was sentenced to death by the Sharjah Criminal Court for torturing and killing her employer’s nine-month-old baby.

A maid was also sentenced to death in Abu Dhabi five years earlier after she killed her employer’s four-month-old child by smashing her head on a table.

Ms Al Zaabi said the number of such cases are relatively low in the UAE, “but considering our secure and stable society, even if such a crime occurs once every five years, it will have a big impact”.

“We aim to reach zero crimes by domestic workers,” she said.

Tuesday’s session was the last to be held by the council before their summer recess. Sessions are likely to resume in October.

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