Bi-Annual Emiratisation Targets

The UAE government has recently announced new six-monthly targets for private sector companies to increase the number of UAE national employees in their workforce by 1%. This policy, known as Emiratisation, aims to boost the presence of local citizens in the private sector and support their integration into the workforce.

Companies with at least 50 workers must have 3% of their workforce consisting of Emiratis by July 1st, with a target of reaching 4% by the end of the year. The employment rate of Emiratis is forecasted to escalate to 6% in 2024, 8% in 2025 and 10% in 2026. To reach the end-of-year goals, the government has divided the yearly target into two segments, adding 1% every six months. The requirements apply to skilled positions and free zone companies are exempt but encouraged to participate.

The government aspires to boost local involvement in the private sector, which it considers crucial to the country’s economic success. Firms that fail to attain the 4% benchmark in 2023 will face financial penalties, with fines collected biannually. Companies that fail to reach the 1% Emirati employment growth target by July 1st will face a fine of Dh72,000 for each un-hired UAE national. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation stated that fines will not be increased but rather collected more frequently.

Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, stated that the private sector has been a trusted partner in the government’s pursuit to tap into Emirati talent. The Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council, led by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, revealed that 50,000 Emiratis have secured jobs at private firms since the initiation of the Nafis employment program a year ago, surpassing expectations.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) in the UAE has been cracking down on companies that violate the regulations, having issued fines worth Dh400 million in the year 2022. Out of the 13,000 private sector companies in the UAE that met the criteria of employing more than 50 employees, roughly 9,000 met the January 1st Emiratisation deadline, while around 3,000 missed it and 1,000 partially accomplished it. Over 17,000 job openings were posted on the Nafis portal for Emiratis to search for opportunities.