Workplace Quota UAE

Workplace Quota UAE

- Jim Swallow

Workplace Quota UAE 

The UAE diversity rule stipulates that companies are required to follow a 20% nationality quota. The diversity quota in the UAE has been implemented in line with the UAE Emiratisation initiative by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) to achieve higher workplace diversity. 

The 20% nationality quota in the UAE has been put in place to encourage companies to broaden their employee demographic to achieve diversity, (as per MoHRE) as well as promote diversity and to create more opportunities at all levels for different expat and Emirati populations. 

Companies will be required to follow a 20% nationality quota when it comes to hiring different nationalities. Social media claims that particular nationalities such as Pakistani and Indian nationalities are being specifically targeted and while PPG have been experiencing temporary restrictions when applying for a new work permit for Pakistani nationals noting that applications for new work permits are being allowed only if the profession falls under professional levels 1 to 5. 

Restrictions are in place for new visas if the profession falls under professional levels 6 to 9. The restrictions applying to new visas to both workers inside and outside the country. 

What are the UAE Job Profession Levels?

According to the MoHRE website the Skill or Professional Level (listed levels 1 through 9) of jobs in the UAE can be classified as such:

  1. Legislators, managers, and business executives
  2. Professionals in scientific, technical and human fields
  3. Technicians in scientific, technical and humanitarian fields
  4. Writing professionals
  5. Service and sales occupation
  6. Skilled workers in agriculture, fisheries and animal husbandry
  7. Craftsmen in construction, mining, and other craftsmen
  8. Operators and assemblers of machinery and equipment
  9. Simple professions

Our PRO and Visa consultants noted that while it is currently effecting work permit issuance for these particular nationalities such as Indian and Pakistani populations in the UAE, it is not limited to these nationalities. 

This is not a new rule, however, we have only recently been seeing it being implemented now that Emiratisation is being enforced.

Diversity requirements will not only effect South Asian nationalities. We anticipate this will effect any nationality groups who exceed their 20% nationality quota. If a company's workforce exceeds 20% of a specific particular nationality, they may encounter rejections by the Ministry of Health and Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) for staff work visas. It is going to become increasingly important for companies to consider diversification in hiring employees in Dubai and the UAE. 

Companies will need to review their current workforce and update their internal demographic diversity policy to be able to meet the 20% nationality quota UAE requirements. 

What companies are effected by the diversity quota policy? 

 The policy is currently effecting Mainland companies in the UAE under Ministry of Human Resource and Emiratisation (MoHRE) in line with Emiratisation targets and therefore does not currently apply to Free Zone companies who remain exempt from Emiratisation liabilities. 

How can PPG assist? 

If the nationality policy is effecting your business or you have any questions about how to achieve demographic diversity or fulfil diversity requirements, PRO Partner Group can assist. A combination of our PRO services, Visas services and HR services in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or the wider UAE - can help you to assess your current diversity quota and how to plan for better workplace demographic diversity as per MoHRE. 

The cultural and demographic diversity can be a complex one to navigate and we encourage you to engage our PRO and Visa consultants on how to come up with a solution for your workforce visa requirements. Our PRO and Visa service specialise is assisting clients with issuing work permits/ work visas, new visas, visa transfers for their expat and GCC national staff requirements. 

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 or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

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