The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has introduced a new law: compulsory military service for all Emiratis. It applies only to males aged between 18 and 30 who will now be asked to serve in the UAE’s armed forces.Those aged 17 who have finished secondary school may join national service after approval is obtained from their parents. The law makes it optional for women who can volunteer nine months of service.
Working Emiratis will not be exempted. What employers need to know is that recruits’ jobs will have to be reserved until they complete their national service. What’s more, the period of national service counts towards end of service dues, pension and other rights arising from the job.
The only two exemptions permitted by the mandatory military service law are for individuals who are either permanently medically unfit or the only son of a mother or father. However, there are also temporary exemptions that also apply for the following: a son who is providing for his mother or father; somebody who is the provider of a father who is unable to earn a living; an individual who is a provider for his brother(s), sister(s), ascendants or descendants; and persons who are serving in a custodial sentence.
A key feature of the Law is the link between duration of service and educational qualifications: service is two years for recruits without a high school diploma and nine months for those with a high school diploma but no higher qualification. UAE National Service is also postponed for students; in this case, Emirati men will need to enlist for military service afterwards.
This new law added in January of this year to establish the UAE national reserve forces had been sent to the Federal National Council for approval;the law that introduces compulsory military service was enacted for the sake of the country to further protect its nation, secure its borders and preserve its achievements, says Shaikh Mohammed on Twitter. A move, as per Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, which is necessary.
Federal Law No. 6, or the “National Service Law” (the Law introduced in the UAE in 2014) establishes the new national defense and reserve force and has been endorsed by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This law goes in effect immediately with the first batch of young Emiratis to begin their national service this month (September), in three military training centers: in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah.
As the law states, citizens who fail to undertake mandatory national service will not be eligible for jobs in the government and non-government sectors. Worse, those who fail to join the military and reserve service could face 10 to 15 years in prison, as per the Cabinet who passed the UAE National Service Law, if found guilty of attempting to avoid military and reserve duty.
Although not every Emirati will favor the new law, it is important to know that an obligation of compulsory military service of a foreign state is still a common practicethroughout the world; others like Italy (until 31 December 2004) once had mandatory military service and have now reverted to an all-volunteer force.