In the last 2-3 years, there has been an alarming rise in the cases wherein fake educational degrees are used to get employment in UAE. Particularly, in the year 2018, around 100 such cases were detected. In the Article, we will explore legal provisions pertaining to the use of fake degrees, and the prescribed punishment for the same.
Article 120 of the Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 (UAE Labour Law) lists out 10 grounds on the occurrence of which the employer has the right to terminate the employment agreement immediately. One such ground is provided under Article 120(1) which states that the employer may dismiss a worker if he uses a false identity or submit forged documents.
Further, when the employee is dismissed under Article 120(1), the employer can also deny the End of Service Benefits to the worker. As per Article 139(1) of the UAE Labour Law, the employee’s right to receive his entire severance pay can be forfeited in the below two conditions-
- If he is dismissed in pursuance of the grounds mentioned under Article 120.
- If he abandoned his employment himself in order to avoid being dismissed.
Apart from terminating the employment contract, the employer can also initiate criminal action against such an employee. The use of fake documents will be classified as “forgery” which is an offense under Article 216 of the UAE Penal code.
This Article states that
“Forgery of an instrument is to alter its reality in one of the manners described hereinbelow, so as to cause prejudice, with the intention of substituting the false for the genuine instrument”.
The offense of Forgery is punishable with an imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or fine or both. The quantum of punishment also depends upon the intent of the employee and the purpose for which the document was used.
Recently, The Federal National Council (FNC) announced that a new law, particularly to impose strict punishment for the use of fake documents, is in the final stage of completion. The punishment can include a fine of up to AED 500,000 and imprisonment of up to 2 years.
In the new law, the excuse of ignorance (the party being genuinely unaware that his degree is fake) will not be entertained and that person will also be subject to an imprisonment of 3 months or a fine of AED 30,000 or both. One of the special characteristics of the new law is that the employer will also be penalised for accepting fake documents. It will be the duty of the employer to conduct a proper due diligence before admitting an employee.
The UAE government has become extremely vigilant toward the use of fake degrees as it raises doubt regarding the quality standards of the workers. The legal provisions are also very strict, and the employee using fabricated documents will be removed forthwith while forfeiting his right of receiving End of service benefits. Further, it is also an offense of forgery which attracts criminal punishment. With the enactment of the proposed law in the future, rigorous punishment will be imposed on the employees.