Indian, Filipino jobseekers complain of delay in good conduct proof


Indian, Filipino jobseekers complain of delay in good conduct proof

Dubai - Lack of clarity continues to spell confusion among job aspirants and visit visa holders.

By Angel Tesorero & Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Thu 15 Feb 2018, 8:13 PM

Joy, a Filipino expat and resident of Dubai for four years, has been going around processing her certificate of good conduct (CGC) for a couple of days and yet to finish doing it.
She is just one of the thousands of expats who are "scrambling" for a CGC as the lack of clarity continues to spell confusion among job aspirants and visit visa holders. The high cost and long waiting period to obtain a CGC or a police clearance certificate (PCC) have made them raise concerns over the procedure.
Based on a study Khaleej Times has conducted, Indian job aspirants in the UAE on a visit visa are now being told that there is a 40-day waiting period for them to acquire the PCC. In some cases, workers are being shuttled from application centres to local diplomatic missions and are having to wait in long queues to acquire the mandatory certificate.
Indian missions are continuing to seek clarity on this subject, as there are no standing instructions from local authorities on whether PCCs issued within the UAE are acceptable by local authorities or not.
Consul-General of India to Dubai Vipul said: "We have taken the matter up with local authorities and unless we get official instructions from the UAE government, we cannot issue the PCCs in Dubai."
Indian nationals can acquire the certificate from BLS, a specialist service provider for visa, passport, and other consular services. However, there is a minimum 40-day waiting period for completion of the process.
"Furthermore, people need to provide too many documents," said Anwar Naha, president of Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC).
Situation no different for Filipinos
The situation at the Philippine Consulate-General (PCG) in Dubai is no better. There has been a surge of Filipinos going to the consulate applying for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance (the equivalent of India's PCC) after the requirement came into effect on February 4.
"More than 2,000 Filipinos have already applied for the NBI Clearance at the PCG," Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said on Tuesday.
"We've issued, on the average, 500 copies of the NBI Form 5 daily and at one point, the number rose to 800 due to high demand," he added.
Initially, the fingerprinting for the NBI form could only be done at the Dubai Police HQ in Al Qyadah but the PCG has assigned one staff to do the fingerprinting at the consulate, which usually takes around five to 10 minutes.
An online appointment was also set-up last week but only 100 slots are allotted per day and all the fingerprinting appointments are now fully booked until the end of March, according to Cortes.
Joy did not get an online appointment but got the NBI form from the consulate on Monday afternoon. She was not able to proceed to the police station right away because she learned that all slots have been taken. She returned early morning the following day and already hundreds of expats came before her.
She finished around 3pm on Tuesday and returned to the consulate to submit the NBI Form 5 and pay the corresponding fees for notarisation.
In all, she had paid Dh120 to the Dubai Police and Dh200 at the Philippine consulate for the notarisation of the NBI clearance and the special power of attorney for the collection of her certificate.
But Joy was not able to submit her NBI clearance for processing in Manila because on top of the Dh320 she has already paid, she has to raise another Dh750 for the courier service that will process the authentication and attestation of her document at the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and UAE Embassy in Manila.
She was also told by the courier company that the entire process will take at least four to six weeks before she can receive the attested police clearance.
Aside from the long waiting period, Joy is also concerned about the cost. "Dh1,070 is equivalent to 15,000 pesos in our (Philippine) currency, which is equivalent to the food budget for three weeks of my family back home," she told Khaleej Times.
"I understand that the main reason for getting a police clearance is to ensure the safety of the UAE - and I fully support it. I hope the cost be reduced and the process can be made simpler."
It's too expensive to fly back, say workers
A group of workers who arrived in the UAE on a visit visa in December and landed a new job on the first of February are left with very few choices due to the police clearance certificate (PCC) issue.
D Ansari, 34, a packaging helper from Mumbai, India, along with a group of four friends landed a job in a company in Ras Al Khaimah late last month.
"My friends and I started working with them on February 1, however, within seven days they paid us for the number of days we worked and asked us to start again once we have the PCC," Ansari told Khaleej Times.
Unfortunately, Ansari and his friends don't have the means to head back to India and procure a certificate. "It is too expensive to fly back and it could take months to get a new PCC. When we looked to apply for the PCC here in the UAE, we were asked to visit from BLS to the Chamber of Commerce and local police stations. We're very confused on what should be done," he said. The group now stays in Al Khan, Sharjah.
The cost of getting a PCC from India attested in the UAE is Dh580 including VAT. Applicants have to wait for five to eight days to complete attestation processes.
Another applicant Mano Vallavan said: "Even if I were to go back home and procure the PCC, there is no guarantee that I will still have the job when I get back."
Social organisations have recommended that jobseekers procure a PCC before arriving in the UAE. "It is more cost-effective to get it from back home," said Naha.
Applicants can apply for the PCC on the Indian passport website and schedule an appointment for collection. However, they will still need to get the PCC attested by missions and local authorities.

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