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UAE intensifies Emiratisation policy in the private sector

On July 18, 2023

The UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) recently announced new Emiratisation targets that require private sector companies with 20 to 49 employees to hire at least one UAE citizen in 2024 and a second citizen in 2025. 

According to the announcement, companies that do not comply with the Emiratisation policy by 2024 will be penalised AED 96,000 (US$ 26,135) in January 2025. Companies that are non-compliant in 2025 will be fined AED 108,000 (US$ 29,403) in January 2026.  

The new Emiratisation policy targets the following 14 economic activities:

  • Information and communications
  • Financial and insurance activities
  • Real estate
  • Professional and technical activities
  • Administrative and support services
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Transformative industries
  • Education
  • Healthcare and social work
  • Construction
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Hospitality and residency services

Under the previous targets for Emiratisation in private sector companies with 50 employees or more, the MOHRE aimed to increase the number of Emiratis in skilled positions by 1% every six months. The deadline for companies to meet semi-annual Emiratisation targets was initially set for 30 June 2023, but was extended to 7th July 2023.

Since expanding Emiratisation efforts in 2022, the number of Emiratis in the private sector has risen appreciably. According to the MOHRE, the total number of Emiratis employed in the private sector was 79,000 as of 7 July 2023, marking an increase from 50,228 at the end of 2022 and 29,810 by the close of 2021. However, this figure pales in comparison to the massive migrant population in the UAE, estimated at around nine million, with the majority being temporary contract workers.