UAE authorities have urged private-sector companies to hit Emiratisation targets by the end of the year or face financial penalties.
Companies with more than 50 employees must ensure 2 per cent of their staff are Emirati before the start of 2023, a goal that is in line with the government's Nafis initiative.
Any company that fails to reach the target must pay Dh6,000 a month for every Emirati it fails to hire.
The UAE wants 10 per cent of the private sector workforce to be made up of citizens by 2026.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said on Thursday that fines for non-compliance will be collected from January.
The ministry called on companies to support the country's push to invest in local talent and benefit from incentives on offer.
“We are keen to support and empower private sector companies to achieve the Emiratisation targets before the end of this year,” said Saif Al Suwaidi, under-secretary for Emiratisation at the ministry.
“We're co-operating closely with the private sector, stemming from our belief in its role as a key partner in developing and shaping the future.
“Given the private sector’s role in the UAE’s job market, achieving the goals and directions of the UAE require unified efforts of government entities and the private sector to improve the business environment and create an investment climate that encourages companies, investors, entrepreneurs and talents from all over the world to work in the UAE, especially in the strategic priority sectors.
“Compliance with the laws regulating the job market is in the interest of private sector companies and their employees.
“We aim to develop the capabilities of the private sector and enable it to keep pace with changes in global business models and attract UAE national talents to work in skilled jobs through the Nafis programme, which is a cornerstone of these efforts.”
Rewarding firms playing their part
This means that companies that go above and beyond what is legally required will pay only Dh250 for certain permits rather than Dh3,750.
The move was part of a new private sector company classification system introduced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
The ministry offers private sector companies that reach the Emiratisation target a package of incentives, including the first category classification and membership in the Tawteen Partners Club within the establishments' classification system, through which members receive discounts of up to 80 per cent on the ministry's service fees.