The UAE is planning to introduce new regulations to prevent people cheating their way into employment with forged university degrees and certificates, according to authorities.
The Federal National Council (FNC) committee on education, culture, sports and information affairs said it has remotely discussed the federal draft law amendment on the use of bogus education certificates, especially from foreign higher institutions, to secure jobs in the country.
The proposed tougher legislation, which will be taken to the FNC meeting for further discussion before being passed by all members, targets dishonest job seekers and will also punish recruiters and employers who knowingly accept fake degrees and other certificates.
Currently, people caught faking certificates can face up to three years in prison under the UAE criminal law.
Adnan Hamad Al Hammadi, FNC member and chairman of the committee, said members of the panel have reviewed the federal draft law on the use of fake education certificates, which consists of 11 articles, during a virtual meeting and looked into the social, legal and other aspects.
“The committee will meet the representatives from the relevant government bodies and experts to get their opinions before preparing the final report of the draft law which will be presented at the FNC meeting,” said Al Hammadi.
The legislator noted that the new draft law aims to crackdown on the use of fake degrees and education certificates by citizens and expats to get jobs in government agencies and private firms, or for any other purposes.
“Some people were taking advantage of the new technology to forge education certificates from universities and other higher institutions across the world so they can use them to be recruited for jobs in the country. Tough regulations are required to combat the phenomenon of forging university degrees,” underlined Al Hammadi.
Last year, Dr Ahmed Bilhoul Al Falasi, minister of state for higher education and advanced skills, told the FNC members that 143 fake degrees and certificates from foreign universities were detected by UAE authorities during 2018.
He noted that the federal government and local government in Abu Dhabi require the degrees from foreign universities to be accredited by the ministry before they recruit a person, but in some other emirates private companies don’t request it.
“Before accrediting any certificate, the ministry asks for stamps from parties concerned, for example the embassy of the country where the degree was issued. Then the officials call the university and confirm if the student graduated from there before an equalisation process is done,” said Al Falasi, adding that the ministry was committed to ensuring cases of potential forgery didn’t slip through their net.