Business owner 'threatened Emirati trainees over job scheme'

Jobseekers in e-commerce and stock trading firm were exploited, say prosecutors

The owner of a private company in the UAE has been arrested for taking money from job-seekers training under the Nafis programme. Photo: UAE Public Prosecution
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The owner of a company has been arrested for threatening to fail hundreds of young Emiratis being trained under the Nafis job programme.

The businessman demanded money from young jobseekers and threatened them with low grades in their training if they did not comply.

He claimed the money was for charity purpose, the prosecutors said in a statement on Tuesday.

Authorities did not reveal the man's identity and his company's name, but said the firm was registered under the Nafis programme to train Emirati jobseekers in e-commerce and stock trading.

Prosecutors said 296 UAE nationals on the training scheme were victims.

It was not made clear how much money he used to take from each candidate and if one or all trainees had complained to the authorities.

Emiratis who successfully complete the training programme are placed in private sector jobs. Those who are not able to complete, have to undertake the training again.

The man exploited this clause and obtained money from trainees fraudulently.

“He threatened to fail them in the training if they didn’t give him the money,” the prosecutors said on Twitter.

“He wasn’t training them properly and they complained against him that he took money from them illegally. He flouted Nafis programme regulations.”

The Nafis employment programme was set up to support the government's push to ensure citizens make up 10 per cent of the private sector by 2026, including 2 per cent by January 1.

Financial incentives have been introduced to help attain these goals over the five-year project.

Monthly salary top-ups from the government include Dh7,000 for holders of a bachelor’s degree, Dh6,000 for diploma holders, and Dh5,000 for those who completed high school or less.

For Emiratis undergoing training for highly skilled jobs, there is a Dh8,000 per month salary top-up for one year only.

The UAE authorities urged Emiratis working in the private sector to report anyone flouting the rules to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Earlier, the ministry warned strict action against employers shirking their responsibilities.

Companies face Dh100,000 fines for forging hiring documents to wrongly fill the job quota for Emiratis working in the private sector.

The January 1, 2023, deadline set a target for companies with more than 50 employees to ensure 2 per cent of their staff are Emiratis. 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 the ministry and does not apply to free-zone businesses.

Updated: January 26, 2023, 5:40 AM