Companies attempting to circumvent Emiratisation targets will be hit with a fine of up to Dh500,000 ($136,160), it was announced on Thursday.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said in a circular that any company attempting to reduce the number of employees or reassign job titles to evade fulfilling the Emiratisation quota would be fined.
The ministry said a fine of Dh100,000 would be imposed for a first offence, but if another breach is committed it will increase to Dh300,000, while a third violation will lead to a Dh500,000 fine. Any subsequent breach will result in a Dh500,000 fine.
Companies trying to evade targets will be required to adhere to them based on original company size.
Authorities recently reminded businesses that June 30 is the next deadline for private sector companies to hit their six-month target.
In November, the ministry sought to take action against an employer for "faking Emiratisation" numbers by hiring family members to hit government-set targets.
While it is not against the rules to hire family members, the ministry will take action against anyone employing relatives for fake positions, or roles with no real work, to hit quotas.
The Nafis scheme was set up to support the government's push to ensure citizens make up at least a 10th of the private sector in the next four years.
Companies will face a Dh42,000 fine for each Emirati not appointed according to the semi-annual targets.
The ministry would then refer the offender to public prosecutors for legal action.
Inspections are carried out frequently to catch employers dishonestly hiring Emiratis for nonexistent jobs.
Emiratisation targets require companies with 50 employees or more to increase the number of its Emirati employees at skilled jobs by 1 per cent every six months, ultimately achieving 2 per cent Emiratisation by the end of the year.
The ministry provides various channels that allow employees, employers and community members to report breaches to ensure enforcement of law. Violations can be reported through the call centre on 600590000, or through the ministry’s smart app or social media pages.