'Al Bayt Mitwahid' (Our Home is United) Association
Al Bayt Mitwahid Association was inspired by the vision of the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who recognised the importance of unity for realising the hopes and aspirations of the people and instilled in everyone the spirit of giving without expectations and discrimination.
Later, the 'Al Bayt Mitwahid' campaign was launched to celebrate unity and promote a culture of generosity across the UAE's communities. It was inspired by H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and by H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces who made the phrase 'Al Bayt Mitwahid' famous.
The association provides an open platform for UAE communities to take part in creating, fundraising, planning and implementing caring initiatives that celebrate unity and foster a feeling of solidarity and sense of duty. Some of the initiatives include:
- Journey of the Union - UAE Wide - this initiative involved a journey through the seven emirates and encouraging high school Emirati students to increase their knowledge of the seven emirates by visiting leading industries, historical and cultural sites.
- Building Bridges initiative - this initiative aimed to strengthen the bond with all segments of society and provide moral support to the elderly, disabled, orphaned and the hospitalised through regular visits to such centres and hospitals from all seven emirates.
Developing an identity programme
Role of Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship
The UAE Government established Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC), earlier known as Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) in 2004 to execute the population register and the ID card programme with the aim of protecting the identity of the UAE's citizens and maintaining their digital security.
The Federal Decree Law No. 3 of 2017 conferred additional role to Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC). The new functions include citizenship affairs, passport matters, entry and residence of foreigners in the UAE which were earlier under the scope of Ministry of Interior.
FAIC registers both citizens and residents and such registration is a legal requirement. By registering people, FAIC aims to maintain accurate information on the demographic structure of the UAE's population. Registering people is also a move to build an integrated system for managing personal IDs and which will enhance provision of online government services as per the Federal eGovernment Plan and Vision 2021.
Emirates ID card
FAIC issues Emirates ID card to registered people. The card has several uses. It can be used as an identity proof to get government services, for voting in the elections of Federal National Council, as a travel document for UAE citizens to travel within the GCC and as a document to pass immigration through the eGates and smart gates at several airports in the UAE. Further, the identity card is designed to reinforce security for its holders, guarding them against fraud and illicit transactions. Read about the Emirates ID’s features and benefits and how to apply for an Emirates ID.
The UAE National Service law
H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE issued Federal Law No. 6 of 2014, Concerning the National Military Service and Reserve Force.
The law aims to instil values of loyalty and sacrifice in the hearts of the citizens to defend the achievements and gains of the Federation, push forward the wheel of development and protect the homeland, its borders, its resources and gains and national security and stability.
According to the law, the service may be completed at the UAE Armed Force, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, State Security Service and other institutions identified by the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
In addition, citizens who complete the mandatory military service will enjoy a range of benefits, including priority for taking up jobs in government institutions and private businesses, marriage grants, housing plots and scholarships.
The terms of the UAE national service
According to Federal Law No. 6 for 2014, all medically fit Emirati men who have finished secondary school or are aged between 18-30 will have to serve 9 months, after obtaining approval of National and Reserve Service Committee of UAE Armed Forces' General Command.
Those who have not finished secondary school will have to serve two years.
Emirati men aged 17 who have finished secondary school may join national service after they obtain approval from their parents.
According to the law, the service will be optional for women, who may be trained for nine months, regardless of their education.
Amendment to Federal Law No. 6 of 2014, extending the UAE national service
However, on 7 March 2016, it was announced that the legal term of the compulsory national military service would be extended to 12 months instead of 9 months from the same day.
In July 2018, the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the UAE Armed Forces has announced the extension of legal term of the national service - authorised by the Federal Law No. (6) for 2014 pertaining to national and reserve service - from 12 months to 16 months for Emirati male holders of a high secondary school certificate and above.
What the employers need to know
Working Emiratis will not be exempt and while serving in the military, time will be added to their end-of-service and pension benefits.
Federal and local departments, as well as private sector businesses will be obliged to allow their Emirati workers to enlist for military service. They also have to keep their jobs or similar jobs open for them once they complete the service. Their positions can be filled on a temporary basis until they have completed their services.
Failing to enlist for the national service
Citizens who fail to enlist for military service without valid reason until they reach 29 years of age will face a jail term of one month to one year, or a fine ranging between AED 10,000 and AED 50,000 or both. They will have to undergo the military service even if they exceed the age limit of 30.
Postponing the national service
The national service can be postponed only if a person:
- is less than 29 years old and is enrolled in a university, college, institution or training centre for a course the duration of which is two years or more
- has obtained a minimum of 90 per cent grade average or better in their General Certificate of Secondary Education
- reaching 18 years old and has not completed secondary education, provided the person is continuing morning classes education.
As an alternative, those who do not meet the conditions for performing national service can do administrative, civil or technical jobs according to their capabilities and for the same duration of service.
Exemption from the national service
The sole son of a family and medically unfit citizens can be exempt from military service. Those who sustain their parents or siblings with special needs and those serving jail terms would benefit from a temporary exemption.
Once the reason for temporary exemption is over, those people have to report to the authorities to undergo the military service.
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