Nearly 900 Emirati couples received marriage grants worth more than Dh60 million in the first half of the year.
The Ministry of Community Development bestowed the cash windfall of Dh70,000 on 865 Emirati couples who met a range of criteria.
More than 65,000 couples have benefited from the fund, which aims to encourage Emirati marriages and help newlyweds invest in their future and pay for their nuptials, since Federal Law No. 47 of 1992 was enacted.
Couples must meet a range of criteria in order to qualify for the Dh70,000 grant. Both spouses must be UAE citizens, with the husband no younger than 21, and the wife no younger than 18 years. The basic monthly salary of each of the spouses must not exceed Dh25,000.
In addition, they must submit an application within six months from the date of the marriage and attend awareness courses and lectures organised by The Ministry of Community Development within one year from the date of the application.
The Ministry’s Eadad (Preparation) programme, which is held across the UAE, covers numerous topics: family building; marriage and its requirements; family relations; coping with family problems; financial and family planning; partnership between spouses in raising children; and the role of the family unit in society.
The Ministry organised 31 training courses for 4,696 attendees in 2017. Around 1,280 citizens attended 10 training courses in the first half of this year.
The ministry also launched several new initiatives, including relationship workshops for newlyweds in the first five years of marriage and a confidential telephone counselling service to help resolve family issues.
The Federal National Council is currently drafting a proposal to extend housing grants and loans to men who marry Emirati women for second wives as the high cost of weddings and dowries means that men often marry foreign women instead.
A 2017 documentary by Zayed University researchers estimated that on average an Emirati wedding costs at least Dh683,000.