UAE: Emiratisation checks begin July 1; fines to be enforced

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

Starting July 1, UAE authorities will assess whether private sector companies have achieved their Emiratization targets for the first half of 2024.

Implementation of Emiratisation Targets in the UAE

Companies with 50 or more employees that haven't increased their Emirati workforce by 1 percent over the past six months will face fines.

The mid-year targets were scheduled to be met by June 30th by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE). The penalty for companies with open Emirati positions is Dh8,000 per month, escalating from Dh7,000 in 2017 and Dh6,000 in 2022. Until 2026, these fines will be increased by Dh1,000 every year.

Annual Emiratisation Growth Requirements

Private companies in the UAE must annually increase their Emirati workforce by 2 percent. By the end of last year, companies were required to have 4 percent Emiratis among their employees. By the end of June, this figure should reach 5 percent, and by the end of 2024, it should be 6 percent. The federal law aims to reach a 10 percent emancipation rate by 2026, with an annual target of 2 percent, split into 1 percent increases in the first and second halves of each year.

Early this year, MoHRE began implementing a UAE Cabinet decision to expand Emiratization requirements to firms with 20 to 49 employees. Over 12,000 companies operating in 14 specific economic sectors must now hire at least one Emirati in 2024 and another in 2025.

Utilizing Nafis for Compliance

MoHRE urged companies to use the Nafis Programme’s digital platform to meet their monetization targets. This platform provides access to a pool of qualified Emirati job seekers across various specializations. In May, MoHRE announced that over 97,000 Emiratis are working in approximately 20,000 private companies in the UAE, highlighting the effectiveness of the government's Emiratization initiatives, particularly the Nafis program. MoHRE Minister Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar noted a 170 percent growth in Emirati employees in the private sector since the launch of Nafis in September 2021.

MoHRE conducts regular inspections to ensure compliance with national employment targets. Since mid-2022 until May 16 this year, 1,379 firms were found to have hired 2,170 Emiratis illegally. Violations resulted in fines ranging from Dh20,000 to Dh100,000 per case.

Fake compliance is identified when a UAE national is employed in a nominal role without real tasks, solely to meet Emiratisation targets. Companies that manipulate employment data by rehiring Emiratis to inflate numbers also face penalties. Beyond fines of up to Dh100,000, erring companies may be referred to the Public Prosecution, downgraded in MoHRE's rating system, and required to pay additional financial contributions.

Residents are encouraged to report labor rule violations by calling 600590000 or through the MoHRE app or website. The UAE is committed to ensuring genuine Emiratization and enhancing the presence of Emiratis in the private sector through these stringent measures and supportive initiatives.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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