A guide to Emiratisation requirements in the UAE | PRO Partner Group

A guide to Emiratisation requirements in the UAE | PRO Partner Group

- Libbie Burtinshaw

A guide to Emiratisation requirements in the UAE

Emiratisation refers to a set of policies and initiatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that aim to increase the participation of Emirati nationals in the country's workforce and reduce the country's reliance on expatriate labour.

The Emiratisation programme was first launched in 1998 by the UAE government, in response to concerns about the low level of participation of Emiratis in the private sector. It addresses these issues through a quota system that that ensures companies hire a minimum percentage of Emirati nationals relative to the number of employees that the company has.

Since its inception, the programme has been successful in addressing Emirati employment within the public sector. However, Emirati participation in the private sector is still lagging. The programme has therefore been expanded in a number of ways and is now a key priority for the UAE government.

The programme now targets other sectors beyond the initial focus on the banking and finance industries, including healthcare, education, aviation, hospitality, and transportation, and the government has also introduced various incentives to encourage private sector companies to hire Emiratis. These range from financial grants and tax breaks to priorities in government tenders and subsidies for training and development programmes that better equip Emirati nationals with the skills needed for the job market.

New Emiratisation requirements

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation MOHRE) recently released amendments to company’s quota obligations, which took effect from 1 January 2023. These apply to all UAE mainland registered companies, but exclude companies based in free zones.

These dictate that all private sector companies with 50 or more employees must increase the number of Emirati nationals under their employment by 2% per year with the aim of ensuring that by 2026, the private sector workforce will be comprised of at least 10% UAE nationals.

This quota, however, does not include the banking and insurance sectors. The quotas for these industries will remain at 4% and 5% respectively.

What is my company’s Emiratisation quota?

A company’s quota is directly related to the size of the company and the number of skilled workers it employs. An employee is considered as a skilled worker if they fall into one the following five categories:

1. Level 1: Professionals - This includes skilled workers such as doctors, engineers, and lawyers.

2. Level 2: Managers and executives - This includes individuals in senior management positions such as CEOs, directors, and department heads.

3. Level 3: Technicians and skilled workers – This includes workers with specialised technical skills, such as mechanics, electricians, and plumbers.

4. Level 4: Sales and marketing - This includes workers in sales and marketing roles, such as sales representatives, account managers, and marketing executives.

5. Level 5: Administrative and support staff - This includes workers in administrative and support roles, such as receptionists, secretaries, and customer service representatives.

The quotas are as follows:

• 0-50 skilled workers – 1 Emirati national

• 51-100 skilled employees – 2 Emirati nationals

• 101-150 skilled employees – 3 Emirati national

• 151 skilled employees or more – 1 Emirati national for every 50 employees

How do I register my company with the Emiratisation programme?

To register your company with the Emiratisation programme, you can follow these steps:

1. Visit the official website of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) at https://www.mohre.gov.ae/en/ho...

2. Click on the "Services" tab and select "Emiratisation Services" from the drop-down menu.

3. Scroll down to find the "Employer Registration for Emiratisation Services" option and click on it.

4. You will be directed to a new page where you can fill in the required information, including your company name, trade licence number, and other relevant details.

5. Once you have filled in all the necessary information, submit your application.

After you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by MOHRE, and you will receive confirmation once your company is registered on the system. Alternatively, you can contact the MOHRE's customer service center at 800-665 for more information or assistance with the registration process.

What are the consequences of non-compliance with the programme?

It’s crucial that companies are fully aware of all current legislation around Emiratisation and keep up to date with any revisions that occur to the programme since failure to do so could result in fines or other penalties.

The fine enforced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is AED 6,000 monthly for every citizen below a company’s quota requirement that hasn’t been employed.

Non-compliant companies may also incur other unwanted consequences such as visa and work permit restrictions, exclusion from government contracts and tenders or even reputational damage within the UAE and abroad. These could affect the ability to attract and retain clients, recruit employees or make important business partnerships.

What other obligations does my company have under the Emiratisation programme?

As well as meeting Emiratisation employment quotas, private companies with at least 50 employees are required to make pension contributions for all Emirati nationals under their employment.

This involves registering with relevant pension fund in your businesses Emirate. The Abu Dhabi Retirement Pension & Benefits Fund (ADRPBF) for all Abu Dhabi registered companies and the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) for businesses registered in any of the other emirates.

These authorities require employers to make contributions into the fund on behalf of their employees within 30 days of the employee receiving their labour card. Contributions are made monthly, amounting to 20% of the employee’s salary. The employer is responsible for contributing 12.5% and the employee 5%, with the remaining 2.5% provided by the government as a means of support and encouragement.

The employee’s contribution is deducted from their salary and added to the employer’s 12.5% contribution. This is then debited from the company bank account at the beginning of every month and provides social security cover for retirement or incapacity due to disability or a work-related injury.

How can PRO Partner Group help?

PRO Partner Group can advise you on your company’s Emiratisation requirements and help you determine which tier your company is currently in and what steps need to be taken to ensure that you are fully compliant with the latest legislation.

If you need assistance with the new Emiratisation rules or any other related onshore or offshore company setup, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman, Qatar or KSA, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@propartnergroup.com or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

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