Emiratisation: Boosting Emirati Employment
in the Private Sector

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In a bid to bolster Emiratisation, the UAE government unveiled a groundbreaking initiative in November 2022, offering a monthly salary boost of Dh7,000 to Emirati nationals employed in the private sector. This strategic move aims to entice Emiratis away from higher-paying public (government) jobs and into private enterprise.

Recently, new regulations have been introduced, specifically targeting private companies with 20 to 49 employees workforces. 

Here’s an in-depth look at Emiratisation in the UAE:


What is Emiratisation? 

Emiratisation is a UAE government initiative aimed at boosting the employment of Emirati nationals in the private sector. This involves encouraging Emiratis to develop their skills in various industries. 

In September 2022, quotas were introduced for Emirati employment in private companies, with a requirement for 3 percent of the workforce to be Emiratis by July 7, 2022, for companies with at least 50 employees. The program was expanded to include companies with 20 to 49 employees in various sectors. The government has set ambitious targets, aiming for 6 percent Emirati employment in 2024, 8 percent in 2025, and 10 percent in 2026, with gradual increases every six months. 

However, UAE Freezone companies are exempt but encouraged to participate, and the goal is to reach 10 percent Emirati employment by 2027.


Emiratisation Top-Up Payments 

Emiratisation Top-Up Payments aim to address the challenge of attracting Emirati university graduates with competitive starting salaries. Initially, graduates offered Dh13,000 monthly can now receive Dh18,000, up from the original Dh15,000 under the Nafis program established in September 2021. 

This amount was further raised to Dh20,000 in November 2022. Additional benefits include Dh800 per child per month and up to Dh3,200 per family for those with children.


Consequences of Missing Deadlines 

Private companies in the UAE must meet Emiratisation targets by December 31, 2023, or face significant fines of up to Dh500,000. Non-compliance will result in a fine of Dh42,000 for each unfilled Emirati position, and companies providing false information will also be penalized. Companies failing to reach the 4 percent target in 2023 will pay Dh84,000 per unfulfilled Emirati position, increasing to Dh120,000 by 2026. Smaller companies with 20 to 49 employees must employ at least one Emirati in 2024 or face a Dh96,000 ($26,000) fine, which rises to Dh108,000 ($30,000) for not hiring at least two Emiratis in 2025.


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