UAE Emiratisation deadline: Authorities warn of fines for falsifying hiring quota

Companies must ensure 2 per cent of their workforce is Emirati by January 1

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Companies face Dh100,000 fines for forging hiring documents to hit a new quota for Emiratis working in the private sector.

The Ministry of Human Resources issued the warning ahead of an end-of-year deadline.

By January 1, 2023, companies with more than 50 employees must ensure 2 per cent of their staff are Emirati. Any employer that fails to reach the target must pay Dh6,000 a month for every position short of the quota.

The policy applies to domestic companies registered with ministry — and does not apply to freezone businesses.

In a statement on Tuesday, officials suggested the move raised the prospect of some employers trying to get around the requirement.

They warned that a minimum fine of Dh20,000 and a maximum of Dh100,000 may be levied for each false hiring. In such cases, all the benefits given to the company would be stopped and any benefits already distributed would have to be returned.

The UAE wants 10 per cent of the private sector workforce to be made up of citizens by 2026. That would create about 75,000 jobs for Emiratis in the private sector.

To help to hit this target, the government is running a scheme called Nafis.

It includes salary top-ups for Emiratis, who have traditionally earned more in the public sector, and has a job portal full of UAE nationals' CVs.

A full guide to that can be found here.

Forging hiring data

A Dh20,000 administrative fine for each candidate may be applicable, if:

  • The company does not hire an Emirati after issuing a work permit but continues to get support from Nafis
  • Employees benefitting from the programme show non-commitment towards work and the employer fails to notify Nafis
  • Employees benefitting from the programme do not come to work and the employer fails to inform authorities
  • The company changes any benefit of the employee without a valid reason and fails to inform Nafis
  • The company does not employ the Emirati after they finished the Nafis training without giving a valid reason

The ministry called on companies to support the country's push to invest in local talent, and benefit from incentives and fines for non-compliance will be collected from January.

In May, the UAE said it would cut some worker permit fees for private sector companies that voluntarily exceed Emiratisation targets.

This means that companies that go above and beyond what is legally required will pay only Dh250 for certain permits rather than Dh3,750.

Updated: November 16, 2022, 7:57 AM