MOHRE announces amendments to mechanism of achieving Emiratisation targets
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) announced amendments to the mechanism of achieving Emiratisation targets in private sector companies with 50 employees or more. His Excellency Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said, “This step aims to maintain employment and retention rates of Emiratis in the private sector at a time where we witnessed a 70 percent increase in Emiratis working in the private sector in 2022, compared to 2021.”
Al Awar noted that the new mechanism does not amend the annual targets – companies with 50 employees or more are still required to achieve a 2 percent increase in Emiratisation of skilled jobs. The new mechanism however stipulates that companies need to achieve 1 percent increase in Emiratisation before the end of June 2023, and to reach the targeted 2 percent by end of year.
This step supports the continuity of the Emiratisation pace in the private sector year-round, in line with the directives of the Government of the UAE, which prioritises Emiratisation in its national strategy and agenda.
According to Rima Mrad, Partner at BSA, the majority of clients are not prepared and are facing challenges to effectively organize the ongoing recruitment of UAE nationals. This is more relevant for specific sectors where suitable candidates are very limited. She added, “Various authorities and government agencies are being very supportive during this period by guiding private sectors firms as to where and how they can have access to the profiles of the UAE nationals available for recruitment. They are trying to raise awareness about this matter. The private sector will adapt, provided they take compliance seriously and at the same time put in place organized measures to address the relevant requirements from their side. It is to be noted that the majority of the companies that are facing challenges have already delayed dealing with this requirement for a long time last year and this caused them to be under time pressure.”
The amendments do not include any additional commitments on the companies, nor any amendments to the amounts of financial contributions imposed for non-compliance. However, these contributions will now be collected semi-annually, encouraging the private sector to continuously employ Emiratis to meet their targets, instead of waiting until the end of the year.
Naresh Moolchandani, HR Manager at Jacky’s Group, said, “I believe it will be beneficial in the long run as companies can plan their one percent semi-annually instead of keeping it till the end of the year to make the quota. For smaller companies it might be easier to recruit but for organizations with a larger employee strength, it takes time to identify and recruit the right talent whilst making sure to meet the required quota. This new amendment will give companies like us the chance to recruit the right candidate instead of recruiting just to meet the deadline and not to be penalized. It will be like reviewing your team twice a year so you need to do better planning.”
Minister Al Awar pointed out that “supporting Emirati talent is a priority, in line with the vision of the nation’s wise leadership to provide a decent living to its people, boost their quality of life, and enhance the job opportunities available to them. This is evident in the exemplary results achieved by Nafis in 2022, which through the amended mechanism, the Ministry aims to support in balancing the pace of job seekers registering and the job opportunities being offered via Nafis’ platform.
“The private sector has proven itself as a credible partner, and we are confident that the new amendments will reflect positively on the existing cooperation,” he added.
Talib Hashim, Managing Director of TBH Advisory, reiterated, "Companies choosing to pay the fines alone and NOT hire the required number of nationals is not wise and is no guarantee that they will avoid other possible implications such as new visas being blocked, I have been doing this for some time now and happy to help companies unable to find the right nationals."
The financial contributions imposed on companies that do not meet the target for the first half of 2023 will begin in July 2023, and the contributions for non-compliance from 2022 will continue to be collected.