More than 400 companies in UAE found breaking Emiratisation rules

Penalties were handed out to business found to be in breach

Companies in the UAE with 20 to 49 employees will be required to hire at least one UAE citizen by next year and another by 2025
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Authorities in the UAE have taken action against hundreds of companies found to be willfully evading Emiratisation targets.

July 7 was the deadline for private sector companies with 50 employees or more to have registered a 1 per cent growth in the number of Emiratis working in skilled roles.

A total of 441 private sector companies have been penalised since June last year.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation revealed on Wednesday that penalties and administrative action was being taken against offending companies.

A total of 436 companies were fined for false Emiratisation, such as family members being hired with no real role or forging employment records by obtaining false work permits in the name of UAE citizens.

Five companies were found to have circumvented targets, which is when companies reduce the number of employees to avoid being included in the programme.

UAE authorities have warned private companies against posting misleading job adverts, offering unskilled positions and offering reduced salaries to citizens under the country's Emiratisation drive.

Employers at eligible companies are required to reach a 4 per cent target by the end of the year, increasing to 6 per cent by the close of 2024, 8 per cent the following year and 10 per cent by the end of 2026.

Earlier this month, small businesses were told they must now recruit Emiratis to their workforce in a major expansion of the drive.

Companies with 20 to 49 employees will be required to hit a quota for the first time, hiring at least one UAE citizen by next year and another by 2025.

The requirement applies to privately-owned companies across 14 sectors, including real estate, education, construction and health care. Previously, only firms with 50 or more employees needed to meet targets on hiring UAE citizens.

Companies with 20 to 49 employees, who fail to employ at least one Emirati by next year, face a fine of Dh96,000 ($26,000).

That fine will increase to Dh108,000 for businesses that have not employed two Emiratis by 2025.

Updated: July 19, 2023, 12:35 PM