Emiratisation targets in the private sector
The Emirati Human Resources Competitiveness Council, ‘Nafis’ implements national initiatives aimed at increasing Emiratisation in the private sector. The council supports citizens in the private sector by increasing their competitiveness and providing this sector with Emirati skills.
The council aims to get 75,000 citizens into the private sector over the next five years. It also offers many initiatives to empower Emirati cadres and motivate private companies to attract Emirati talent.
Rate of Emiratisation - (Companies with 50 or more workers)
The Cabinet approved a decision to raise Emiratisation rates to 2 per cent annually for skilled jobs in private sector establishments with 50 or more employees and to achieve an overall rate of increase by 10 per cent by 2026. This is accompanied by granting incentives to institutions that perform qualitatively in the training and employment of citizens.
To support the commitment to achieve the above employment targets for nationals, non-compliant companies will have to pay an amount of AED 6,000 monthly, starting from January 2023, for every citizen who has not been employed. The amount will be paid through the digital systems of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), provided that the value of the monthly contributions increases by AED 1,000 annually until 2026. To monitor the implementation of these decisions in the labour market, MoHRE is working with the Cabinet Secretariat to measure the indicator of Emiratisation in the private sector.
Expansion of the Emiratisation targets - (Companies with 20 to 49 workers)
Starting in 2024, private sector companies with a workforce of 20 to 49 workers will be required to hire at least one UAE citizen and from 2025, they would be required to hire at least two Emirati citizens. Previously, this mandate applied only to companies with 50 or more employees.
This requirement is applicable to companies operating in the following 14 sectors:
- information and communications
- financial and insurance activities
- real estate activities
- professional, scientific and technical activities
- administrative and support services
- healthcare and social work activities
- arts and entertainment
- mining and quarrying industry
- wholesale and retail trade
- transportation and warehousing
- Hospitality services.
Companies with 20 to 49 workers that fail to employ at least one Emirati in 2024 will have to pay a financial contribution of AED 96,000 to the government. This contribution will increase to AED 108,000 for companies that have not employed two Emiratis by 2025.
Find more details of the expansion of Emiratisation targets in the Ministerial Resolution No. 455 of 2023 Concerning the Process for Implementing the Emiratisation Targets for Private Sector Establishments That Employ Between 20 and 49 Employees in Selected Economic Activities. (PDF, 169 KB).
Read news coverage on WAM.
Find out ministerial resolutions related to Emiratisation in the private sector:
The Nafis award
The Nafis award is given to private sector establishments that excel in hiring UAE nationals. It also honours talented Emiratis in the private sector, who prove to be an effective force in various economic sectors. Read more about the Nafis award and the steps to apply.
The ‘Industrialists Program’
Read about the ‘Industrialists Program’ and its objective to build local capacities and accelerate Emiratisation in the industrial sector.
Compliance with the Emiratisation regulations
Following are some of the obligations set by Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) to ensure compliance with the Emiratisation system and to avoid fraudulent Emiratisation practices.
Rules for advertising for Emiratisation jobs
When advertising for Emiratisation jobs, firms must not:
- post unskilled jobs or misleading advertisements which do not represent the available and genuine job opportunities for them
- refer to the government’s Emiratisation policies and their benefits unless they have obtained a prior permission from MoHRE
- provide information on the government incentives and support programmes offered to nationals in the private sector.
Obligations of the employers when hiring Emiratis
When hiring Emiratis, employers must provide them with appropriate workplace and tools, and minimum on-the-job training to enable them to perform their duties. Additionally, they must:
Upon termination of the employment contract, the employer must cancel the work permit of the national immediately.
Employers must not:
Obligations of the Emiratis employed in the private sector
When joining the private sector, Emiratis are required to comply with:
- the obligations stipulated by the Decree Law Regarding the Regulation of Labour Relations and its Executive Regulations, as well as the decisions issued to implement them
- the decisions pertaining to the Nafis programme
- the obligations set forth in his/her employment contract.
Emiratis are required to inform MoHRE about any practices that violate the provisions of Emiratisation resolutions.
Source: Ministerial Resolution No. 663 of 2022 Regarding Compliance with Emiratisation Regulations in the Private Sector (PDF, 634 KB) for more information.
Penalties and fines for bypassing Emiratisation targets
Cabinet Resolution No. 95 of 2022 Regarding Penalties and Violations Relating To the Emirati Cadres Competitiveness Council Initiatives and Programs (PDF, 491 KB) lists administrative penalties and fines against firms who violate Emiratisation and Nafis targets. The penalties and fines vary according to the nature of the violation committed by the firm.
- The firm carrying out fake Emiratisation and submitting false documents or data to get benefits associated with Nafis
- The employee not joining work after the work permit is issued and the establishment continues to get support from Nafis
- The employee benefitting from Nafis shows non-commitment towards work and the employer fails to notify Nafis
- The firm not employing the Emirati after he/she completed the Nafis training programme and fails to give a valid justification
- The firm not reporting any change in the terms of the benefit without reason acceptable to Nafis.
Read full list of violations, penalties and fines incurred in the above Cabinet Resolution No. 95 of 2022.
Read news coverage on MoHRE and WAM.
Additionally, Cabinet Resolution No. 44 of 2023 Regarding Cabinet Resolution No. 95 of 2022 on Penalties and Violations Relating to the Emirati Cadres Competitiveness Council Initiatives and Programs (PDF, 82 KB) added more administrative penalties and fines against firms that violate Emiratisation targets.
Violations include reducing the number of employees or modifying their classification for the sake of circumventing the targets.
- Companies that fail to meet the Emiratisation targets for the first time will face a fine of AED 100,000.
- If a company violates the Emiratisation targets again, the penalty will increase to AED 300,000.
- For the third or subsequent violation of the Emiratisation targets, the penalty will be raised to AED 500,000.
- The resolution mandates the violating companies to achieve the required targets based on their actual status before the circumvention.
- Companies with 50 employees or more are required to increase the number of their Emirati employees in skilled jobs by 1 per cent every six months and ultimately achieve a 2 per cent Emiratisation rate by the end of the year.
Read news coverage of the resolution on the websites of MoHRE and WAM.
According to Federal Law No. 7 of 1999 for Pensions and Social Security and its amendments, a contribution equal to 20 per cent of the employee’s salary must be made to GPSSA on a monthly basis. While the employee must contribute 5 per cent of his/her salary, the employer must contribute 12.5 per cent of the employee’s salary, and the government must contribute 2.5 per cent.
*Text provided by MoHRE