Check duplication of issues in Jira Cloud using JQL

I want to create bulk issues in Jira Cloud periodically from a 3rd party product data. I was checking ways to find duplicate issues based on a unique key. I am storing a unique key in a Jira custom field of type text. I want to check whether that key is present in the existing issue or not using JQL. Found that IN keyword to check multiple values in a single JQL query is not supported for the custom field of type short text. I want JQL to be something like:

custom_field IN ("uniquekey1", "uniquekey2", "uniquekey3" ....) AND status NOT IN (Closed, Canceled, Completed)

Can I create a custom field of label type that can be used in the JQL query with IN keyword?
Is there any better way of checking the duplication of issues using Jira cloud REST APIs?