With foreign workers making up the vast bulk of private sector jobs in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf’s second-largest economy wants to boost opportunities for its own citizens.
Just 12 per cent of the country’s more than nine million residents are UAE nationals, with over 90 per cent of private sector jobs taken by foreigners, according to International Labour Organization figures.
The government is now strong-arming private firms into hiring local talent, with the aim of ensuring Emiratis make up 10 per cent of the private sector workforce by 2026.
Next month, firms with more than 50 employees that fail to fill two per cent of their skilled jobs with Emiratis face being fined.
That has sparked a hiring drive, with recruiters noting a “flood of vacancies” from companies — many of which won’t be able to meet their targets.
The government also announced a salary support scheme that provides Emiratis in the private sector with up to AED 7,000 ($1,900) extra if monthly wages are less than AED 30,000.