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UAE records ‘historic’ high Emirati employment with 92,000 in private sector in 2023

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Nearly 92,000 Emiratis are working in the UAE private sector as of 2023 – a 157 percent jump from when the Nafis program first launched in 2021 – according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE).

The state-run WAM news agency on Thursday reported that the latest figure marked the “highest historical record for Emirati participation in the private sector.” © Mena Today 

Nearly 92,000 Emiratis are working in the UAE private sector as of 2023 – a 157 percent jump from when the Nafis program first launched in 2021 – according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE).

Nafis is a federal program seeking to increase the involvement of UAE citizens in the country’s private sector. The government program offers a wide-ranging support ecosystem, including salary support schemes, unemployment benefits, and on-the-job training to encourage more citizens to enter the sector.

Private establishments in the UAE with 20 to 49 employees must hire at least one UAE national in 2024 and a second by 2025, according to a 2023 update to the Gulf nation’s Emiratization targets set by MoHRE.

The state-run WAM news agency on Thursday reported that the latest figure marked the “highest historical record for Emirati participation in the private sector.”

The goal was achieved through the combined efforts of 19,000 firms and incentivized through rewards and penalties alike.

Failure to hire according to the latest guidelines will result in a $26,100 (AED 96,00) penalty at the beginning of 2025 and a $29,400 (AED 108,00) fine at the end of 2026, levied on the non-compliant firms. Additionally, strict penalties apply if an establishment is caught evading the rules or providing false information.

On the contrary, benefits and privileges are granted to companies that join the Nafis partners club, including a reduction in ministry fees of up to 80 percent and priority in the government procurement system.

Companies with 50 or more employees must achieve a two percent Emiratization growth rate of their skilled employees on a semi-annual basis, or one percent in the first half of the year and one percent in the second half of 2024, WAM reported.

Recently, the targets were expanded to meet more than 12,000 companies, across 14 specific key economic activities, with 20-49 employees, are required to hire at least one Emirati citizen in 2024 and another in 2025.

The 14 sectors mentioned include information and communications, financial and insurance activities, real estate, professional and technical activities, administrative and support services, arts and entertainment, mining and quarrying, transformative industries, education, healthcare and social work, construction, wholesale and retail, transportation and warehousing, and hospitality and residency services.

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