The UAE government announces plans to drive Emirati employment


The Ministry of Emiratisation and Human Resources (the MOHRE) has recently announced plans to encourage the employment of UAE nationals. The aim is to facilitate Emirate employment in the private sector by selecting 400 job titles in about 2,000 companies that the MOHRE wants to see Emiratis given the opportunity to fill, before an expat is brought in to take the role.

The selected posts have a salary that exceeds Dh10,000 and are based on professions currently filled by UAE nationals.

Companies are not compelled to take UAE nationals on, instead to give them an interview or opportunity they may not have otherwise been given.

The aim is to provide 15,000 job opportunities for Emiratis by the end of this year which is a significant increase on the 6,862 Emirates that were recruited using the same process in 2017.

Next Steps

When one of the selected companies seeks to recruit an expat for a open position, the ministry will scan the market for a suitable Emirati.

If a potential Emirati candidate is found, the company will interview them and will be encouraged to prioritize them if they are suitable for the role. If the company sees the Emirati candidate as unfit, they should justify the reasons to the ministry.

If a suitable candidate cannot be found, the company can go ahead and recruit an expat.

“At the end of the day, the ministry will not force the company to recruit the Emirati, only to prioritise them,” said Minister Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli.

“We will receive their feedback, and train the Emirati to become qualified, of course they can go ahead in the meantime and recruit someone to fill the post – we won’t keep the post on hold,” he said.

The MOHRE has not provided examples of the selected companies, but has described them as important players in the UAE’s economic supply chain, that the companies provide job security and have a large number of employees.

The nationwide drive is similar to the role played by Abu Dhabi’s Tawteen Council, which was phased out in 2015 and made part of the Human Resources Authority.

The Future

The drive will not leave expats who were originally selected for the job in limbo.

The new hiring procedure will take place before the company applies for the expat work visa. If they will hire an expat then they will apply for the work contract, and no one will leave employment or enter the country before having a contract ready.

The ministry hopes that once companies get used to the concept, they will start to scan the market from themselves for Emiratis first.

“We are now in a transition period, so in this phase the companies will be shuffling their priorities,” said the minister.

“The goal is to speed up Emiratisation in the private sector and give a chance to UAE nationals to be interviewed.”

“Emiratisation is a joint responsibility and will be achieved by building partnerships; the government will synchronise with the private sector,” the minister said.

Currently there are 4,155 Emirati candidates registered in the ministry’s database, which companies can search for by qualification and job area.

As an incentive for companies who cooperate with the scheme, they will be given discounts on government fees relating to their business.

In addition, the ministry will also offer to set up satellite offices for companies in rural areas, to boost employment.

The first office was esablished in Khor Fakkan for Emirates National Bank of Dubai, which has so far recruited ten Emiratis.

By the end of 2018, 1,500 such offices will open based on companies’ requests in Ras Al Khaiman, Fujairah and Khor Fakkan.

“And in the coming years, similar offices will open in Mussafah, Bida’ Zayed, Al Ain, Al Dhaid, Ajman and Um Al Quwain,” the minister added.