Emiratisation | Everything You Need to Know to Meeting Your Quota


Through this blog post, we will address all the questions and concerns you might have based on the information we have available to us at present. It will be updated frequently, so check back regularly for future updates.

Welcome to our article dedicated to Emiratisation and frequently asked questions (FAQs) surrounding this crucial initiative in the United Arab Emirates. In this professional space, we aim to shed light on the intricacies of Emiratisation, offering valuable insights and expert guidance.

Whether you are an Emirati job seeker, a business leader striving to implement Emiratisation strategies, or a curious individual keen to understand this vital aspect of the UAE's labor market, our blog is your go-to resource. Join us as we delve and explore the nuances of Emiratisation, and provide practical answers to your most pressing questions, paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for the UAE workforce.

As the United Arab Emirates continues to evolve as a global economic hub, it is essential to understand the significance of Emiratisation and address common inquiries that individuals, businesses, and decision-makers often have regarding this initiative.

We at Lobo Management aim to provide you with an understanding of Emiratisation's goals, strategies, and rules through our insights and comprehensive FAQs.

Elevate your organization with the skills and commitment of Emirati professionals. Collaborate with us, and together, we can strengthen your team's capacities and contribute to building a prosperous and diverse workforce in the UAE.

Reach out to us now to explore how we can support your Emiratisation goals. The foundation of your success lies in the talent you choose! 

Table of Contents

Emiratisation and its role in the UAE 2031 vision

Emiratisation stands as a pivotal initiative championed by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, mandating the inclusion of UAE nationals in both public and private sectors. The primary objective is to bolster the local workforce, thereby augmenting the national economy. While significant strides have been made in the public sector, the private sector is gradually embracing this imperative, reinforced by a recent cabinet decision enforcing the employment of UAE nationals. From 2022, over the next five years, a target of 75,000 jobs is set, with a 2% annual increase in skilled positions within private-sector entities employing over 50 individuals in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other Emirates, and more recently a 1% increase for companies of over 20 individuals beginning in 2024.

Recognizing the critical role the private sector plays, it is integral in integrating UAE Nationals to achieve sustainable growth, especially as the economy of the United Arab Emirates diversifies. The 'We the UAE 2031' vision serves as a comprehensive roadmap for the nation's development over the next decade, focusing on social, economic, investment, and developmental aspects. This vision emphasizes enhancing the UAE's global position, fostering economic vitality, and creating opportunities for global partners. Built upon four pillars encompassing society, economy, diplomacy, and ecosystem, the vision aims to propel the UAE's prosperity by maximizing citizen contributions, emphasizing human capital, promoting diplomacy rooted in human values, and advancing government efficiency and digital infrastructure.

A key marker of this vision is the ambitious goal to double the country's gross domestic product (GDP) from AED 1.49 trillion to AED 3 trillion, reflecting the UAE's unwavering commitment to sustainable progress and prosperity for its citizens and partners alike.

The Emiratisation Quota (Percentage) and what it means for you.

Some of the major sectors targeted by Emiratisation include:

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Healthcare
  3. Education
  4. Hospitality and tourism
  5. Retail
  6. IT

The Cabinet approved a decision to raise Emiratisation rates to 2 percent annually for skilled jobs in private sector establishments with 50 or more employees and to achieve an overall rate of increase by 10 percent by 2026 as part of the ‘Projects of the 50’ Initiative.

A more recent addition to this was, starting in 2024, private sector companies with a workforce of 20 to 49 workers will be required to hire at least one citizen of the United Arab Emirates and from 2025, they would be required to hire at least two Emirati citizens.

This requirement is applicable to companies operating in the following 14 sectors:

  1. Information and Communications
  2. Financial and Insurance activities
  3. Real estate activities
  4. Professional, scientific and Technical Activities
  5. Administrative and Support services
  6. Education
  7. Healthcare and Social work activities
  8. Arts and Entertainment
  9. Mining and Quarrying industry
  10. Manufacturing
  11. Construction
  12. Wholesale and Retail Trade
  13. Transportation and Warehousing
  14. Hospitality services

Where does Emiratisation apply?

The 2% Emiratisation law applies to the private sector and, more specifically, to companies registered across the mainland UAE, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other Emirates. Therefore, companies based in the free zones, including ADGM and DIFC, will not be obliged to apply these laws but are free to contribute to the overall objectives of the law should the companies find suitable Emirati talent for their respective organizations

How many UAE Nationals do you need to hire for your organization?

Certainly, Emiratisation regulations specify clear guidelines for companies regarding the employment of Emirati nationals. If a company has 50 skilled employees or fewer, it is required to have at least one Emirati employee on its payroll. For companies with 51 to 100 skilled employees, the mandate increases to two Emirati employees. To simplify, the Emiratization rate is determined based on the number of skilled workers in the company:

- 50 skilled workers: minimum 1 Emirati employee

- 51-100 skilled workers: 2 Emirati employees

- 101-150 skilled workers: 3 Emirati employees

- 151 & above: 1 Emirati employee for every 50 or fewer workers

Quota of UAE Nationals Minimums based on Organisation size up to 2026

* For an organization with an employee count of 151 & above the minimum quota is one UAE National employee for every 50 or fewer workers.

What does ‘skilled workers’ mean?

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (“MoHRE”) has defined ‘skilled workers’ as an employee who fulfils any of the following qualifications:

  1. To have a certificate higher than the secondary or equivalent to secondary;
  2. To have a worker certificate that has to be attested by a competent authority;
  3. To have a salary that is no less than AED 4,000 per month;
  4. Must have a family book
  5. To be under one of the following categories:
  • Legislators, business executives, and managers;
  • Writing professionals
  • Professionals in technical, scientific, and human fields
  • Technicians in technical, scientific, and humanitarian fields
  • Service and sales occupations

These regulations ensure a transparent and structured approach, facilitating companies in adhering to Emiratisation requirements effectively.

It has to be noted that separate quotas were issued for specific sectors, namely banks and insurance companies, these quotas were broken down into:

  • 4% for banks
  • 5% for insurance companies

To support the commitment to achieve the above employment targets for nationals, companies who were unable to reach their quota would have to pay an amount of AED 6,000 monthly, starting from January 2022, for every citizen who has not been employed. The amount will be paid through the digital systems of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

It has also been confirmed that the value of the monthly contributions will increase by AED 1,000 annually until 2026. To monitor the implementation of these decisions in the labor market, MoHRE is working with the Cabinet Secretariat to measure the indicator of Emiratisation in the private sector.

Achieving Emiratisation targets is crucial for businesses, not only to avoid financial penalties but also, as it aligns with the country's vision, fosters national talent, and strengthens the economy. Embracing Emiratisation demonstrates a company's commitment to social responsibility and plays a significant role in nation-building.

As an Executive Search and Recruitment agency we at Lobo Management understand the challenges businesses face in meeting these targets while maintaining operational efficiency. Our role is to assist companies in navigating this complex landscape effectively. We specialize in identifying top Emirati talent, assessing their skills, and matching them with the right opportunities within your organization. By leveraging our expertise, your company can not only meet Emiratisation goals but also benefit from the unique perspectives, skills, and insights that local professionals bring to the table.

What are the fines applicable if you do not meet your quota?

A table of fines that are applicable by month and year, per UAE National that is not employed by an organization as per their quota.

Year 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Monthly 6,000 AED 7,000 AED 8,000 AED 9,000 AED 10,000 AED
Annually 72,000 AED 84,000 AED 96,000 AED 108,000 AED 120,000 AED

Attracting and Retaining UAE National Talent

Recognizing the diverse nature of nationalization strategies, tailored approaches are imperative, accounting for unique demographics, market conditions, and focus sectors. Businesses must meticulously assess various successful regional and global use cases to inform their decisions effectively.

Moreover, upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce constitute a strategic imperative to fortify national capabilities. Economy-wide and sector-specific upskilling programs, reskilling initiatives, career conversion programs, leadership development initiatives, and targeted secondment programs are vital tools, the NAFIS Program is one such tool. These programs address skills mismatches, enabling the national workforce to adapt seamlessly to the evolving demands of the future workplace. They facilitate the transition from redundant roles to resilient positions and cultivate a robust leadership talent pipeline.

Targeted youth development initiatives play a pivotal role in nurturing a future pipeline of national talent. Work-study, internship, sponsorship, and scholarship programs significantly expand the pool of qualified nationals prepared to assume roles within the private sector. Strategic partnerships with educational institutions and sector-specific educational programs are equally crucial. Many existing companies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already begun to implement graduate programs and partnerships with universities to secure fresh Emirati talent.

At Lobo Management, we recognize the immense value that Emirati talent brings to businesses in the UAE. Our role extends beyond a conventional recruitment agency; we act as strategic partners in attracting and retaining top-tier Emirati professionals. In a landscape where talent acquisition is competitive, especially with Emiratisation targets in focus, our firm plays a pivotal role in ensuring your organization's success.

Identifying Exceptional Emirati Talent:

Our expertise lies in identifying exceptional Emirati candidates who not only meet the job requirements but also align seamlessly with your company's culture and values. Through rigorous assessment processes and in-depth industry knowledge, we pinpoint individuals who possess the right skills, experience, and dedication, ensuring a strong foundation for your team.

Tailored Approach to Individual Goals:

Understanding that each Emirati professional has unique aspirations, we approach recruitment holistically. We take the time to comprehend their career goals and match them with opportunities that provide personal fulfillment and growth. This personalized approach not only attracts but also retains talent, fostering long-term commitment and loyalty to your organization.

Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity:

Navigating the cultural nuances of the UAE job market is essential. Our team is well-versed in the local culture, customs, and professional expectations. By promoting an inclusive environment, we create a workplace where Emirati talent feels valued, respected, and motivated to contribute significantly. This inclusivity fosters a sense of belonging, leading to higher retention rates.

Industry Insights and Market Expertise:

We keep a finger on the pulse of the job market, understanding the trends, demands, and emerging skills. This knowledge allows us to offer valuable insights to both employers and Emirati talents, ensuring they are well-prepared to navigate their careers successfully. By staying ahead of the curve, we help your organization remain competitive and attractive to Emirati professionals.

By entrusting Lobo Management with your talent acquisition and retention strategies, you're not only gaining access to a vast network of Emirati professionals but also ensuring that your organization becomes an employer of choice within the local workforce. Let us partner with you in building a diverse, skilled, and loyal team that drives your company's success in the United Arab Emirates.

Take the Next Step Toward a Diverse and Skilled Workforce!

Empower your organization with the expertise and dedication of Emirati professionals. Partner with us, and let's work together to enhance your team's capabilities and contribute to the vision of a thriving, inclusive UAE workforce. 

Understanding the NAFIS Program

"Nafis" stands as a significant initiative within the UAE's 'Projects of the 50,' where Emiratisation plays a central role. This federal program, established by the government, is dedicated to cultivating a new generation of talented Emirati nationals and enhancing the competitiveness of Emirati human resources. Its ultimate goal is to empower Emiratis to take up positions in the private sector, thereby strengthening the nation's workforce.

"Nafis" encompasses a range of initiatives designed to facilitate Emirati nationals' professional journeys within the private sector. These include comprehensive career counseling, support for apprenticeship programs, the Emirati salary support scheme, and merit-based programs, among others.

To integrate these valuable training programs into your organization, you can leverage the resources and information made available through the Nafis program. The benefits of embracing Nafis are manifold. By participating in this initiative, your organization can tap into a pool of highly motivated and skilled Emirati talent, fostering diversity and a vibrant work environment.

The UAE authorities have taken proactive steps to ensure the success of the Nafis program. They have disseminated information through various media channels and established the Nafis electronic platform, a comprehensive resource for all inquiries related to the program. Furthermore, the UAE authorities have forged strong partnerships with universities, relevant institutions, and organizations dedicated to supporting Emiratis in their professional journeys. These partners can contribute to the initiative by familiarizing Emiratis with the advantages and opportunities offered by Nafis and encouraging citizens to register on the online Nafis platform.

These collaborative efforts are expected to yield substantial results in the long term. By enhancing the skill sets of individuals and making them invaluable assets in the private sector workforce, the UAE is setting the stage for a brighter future. The country's period of economic growth and prosperity is on an upward trajectory, and initiatives like Nafis are pivotal in ensuring that UAE nationals are well-prepared to be active participants in the nation's continued success.

Is Nafis for selected industries only? Which industries are not covered under Nafis?

The Nafis initiative applies to all industries in the private sector.

Will the authorities add more sectors and specialties to the Nafis program in the future?

There have been mentions of plans to add more sectors and specialities in the future, at this time however, this information is unconfirmed and will require to wait for further updates.

Has the Nafis program been initiated yet? If not, when will it be launched? How can I access it?

The UAE authorities launched Nafis in September 2021. Moreover, the registration process has started through multiple phases.

When was the second package of Nafis initiatives and programs launched?

The UAE authorities launched the first package of the Nafis initiatives in October 2021 which included the Emirati Salary Support Scheme, the Unemployment Benefit, the Job Offers Program, Child Allowance Scheme, and the Pension Program. Introduced in March 2022, the second phase of the Nafis has four specialized training and development programs.

What does the second package of the Nafis program include?

The second package of the Nafis program includes the following:

  • Talent Program – The main aim of the talent program is to develop the capabilities of national cadres. These cadres will in turn train Emiratis, help them develop specialized skills, and obtain international professional certificates.
  • National Healthcare Program – The National Healthcare Program aims to enhance the capabilities of Emiratis in the nursing sector through the following schemes
  • Paid scholarships
  • Health Assistant Program for High School Graduates
  • Diploma/higher diploma in emergency medicine
  • Bachelor’s program for nursing

With the above schemes, the authorities of the United Arab Emirates aim to qualify and empower 10,000 UAE nationals in the health sector for the next five years.

  • Apprentice Program – The apprentice program includes a 1-year training program followed by employment in private/semi-government entities to foster the development of Emirati graduates (learning and skill training) in several sectors.
  • Career Counselling – Career counseling provides valuable career guidance and counseling services to Emirati students that will help them discover their skills, identify opportunities, and choose the appropriate career paths. Moreover, the program will also assist students with guidance to write impressive resumes, teach them to excel in interviews, and educate them about work ethics.

Who will implement the training programs?

  • The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Academy and the Center for Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) will implement the talent program. Both the above bodies are partners in the Nafis program, with CERT being the commercial, R&D arm of the Higher Colleges of Technology.
  • The Fatima College of Health Services, which is affiliated with the Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET), will implement the Nursing Cadres Development Program.
  • Private and semi-private companies (that fulfill the criteria) will supervise and implement the Apprenticeship Program.
  • The Federal Youth Foundation in Dubai will implement the Career Counselling Program.
  • Note that the Emirati Cadres Competitiveness Council will supervise and oversee the activities as the above-mentioned entities implement all the programs.

Who is entitled to register for these programs and how?

UAE nationals between the ages of 18-60 can register on the Nafis platform. Whether it is searching for work, finding training opportunities, or applying for any of the programs, the application can register on the Nafis platform through their UAE pass. Depending on the terms of the program and their eligibility, the applications will receive their confirmation.

Signing up for the NAFIS Program

Government initiatives like Nafis provide user-friendly online platforms for registration. Here's a general guide on how you might sign up for such a program:

1. Visit the Official Website: Start by visiting the official Nafis program website. Look for the official government domain (ending in .ae) to ensure you are on the correct website.

2. Create an Account: There should be an option to create a new account or sign up. Click on this option. You will likely be asked to provide your personal details, such as your full name, Emirati ID number, contact information, and email address. Create a secure password for your account.

3. Verification: After providing your information, you might need to verify your identity. This could be done through a verification code sent to your mobile phone or email address. Follow the instructions provided to complete the verification process.

4. Complete Your Profile: Once your account is verified, log in and complete your profile. You may need to provide additional details about your education, work experience, and skills. Make sure to fill out all required fields accurately.

5. Explore Available Programs: After setting up your profile, explore the available programs within the Nafis initiative. These could include training programs, career counseling services, apprenticeship opportunities, and more. Read the descriptions carefully to understand which programs align with your interests and goals.

6. Apply for Programs: When you find a program you are interested in, there should be an option to apply. Click on the application link and follow the prompts. You may need to provide additional documents or information depending on the program requirements.

7. Monitor Your Application: After applying, monitor the status of your application. Some programs might have specific deadlines, so make sure to submit your application within the given timeframe.

8. Attend Orientations or Workshops (if required): If your application is successful, you might be required to attend orientations, workshops, or interviews. Stay updated with your email and the Nafis platform for any notifications.

9. Participate Actively: If accepted into a program, participate actively and take advantage of the opportunities provided. Engage in workshops, training sessions, and networking events to make the most out of your experience with the Nafis program.

Remember that the registration process might vary, and it's essential to follow the instructions provided on the official Nafis website or contact their support team if you encounter any issues during the registration process.

Becoming a Partner of the NAFIS Program

The process of partnering with government initiatives generally involves formal application and approval procedures. Here's a general guide on how you might sign up to become a partner with the Nafis program:

1. Visit the Official Nafis Program Website:

   Start by visiting the official Nafis program website. Look for a section related to partnerships, collaborations, or becoming a partner. There might be a dedicated page providing information for potential partners.

2. Review Partner Requirements:

   Understand the criteria and requirements for becoming a partner. Different programs may have specific criteria, such as being an educational institution, a training provider, or an organization specializing in career development.

3. Prepare Necessary Documentation:

   Gather all the necessary documents and information required for the application process. This might include details about your organization, its mission, previous experience in similar initiatives, and the specific services or resources you can offer to support the Nafis program's objectives.

4. Fill Out the Partner Application Form:

   Most likely, there will be an online application form that you need to fill out. Provide accurate and detailed information about your organization and the services you intend to offer within the partnership. Be clear about how your services align with the goals of the Nafis program.

5. Submit the Application:

   After completing the application form, submit it through the online portal. Ensure that all required fields are filled out, and all necessary documents are attached as per the guidelines provided.

6. Wait for Review and Approval:

   Once your application is submitted, it will undergo a review process. The Nafis program administrators will assess your application based on the provided information and its alignment with their goals. This process may take some time, so be patient during the review period.

7. Respond to Additional Requests:

   If the Nafis program administrators require additional information or clarification regarding your application, be prompt in responding to their requests. Clear communication can expedite the review process.

8. Receive Confirmation and Partnership Agreement:

   If your application is successful, you will receive confirmation of your partnership with the Nafis program. Additionally, you might need to sign a partnership agreement outlining the terms, expectations, and responsibilities of both parties.

9. Collaborate and Engage Actively:

   Once your partnership is established, collaborate actively with the Nafis program. Engage in the initiatives, workshops, and activities as agreed upon in the partnership agreement. Maintain open communication with the program coordinators to ensure a successful collaboration.

It's crucial to check the official Nafis program website or contact their partnership department directly for the most current and specific instructions regarding the partner application process, as procedures and requirements may evolve.

Empower Your Organization with Exceptional Emirati Talent!

As an Executive Search and Recruitment agency, we recognize the significance of this initiative in fostering a skilled, diverse, and prosperous workforce within the nation. Embracing Emiratisation not only aligns businesses with government policies but also contributes to developing a vibrant, sustainable economy.

At Lobo Management, we are committed to supporting organizations in navigating the intricacies of Emiratisation. Our expertise in talent acquisition and our understanding of the local market uniquely positions us to assist businesses in identifying, attracting, and nurturing Emirati talent.

By fostering an inclusive work environment, nurturing local talent, and investing in the growth of Emirati professionals, we can collectively contribute to the realization of the UAE's vision for a thriving, knowledge-based economy. Embracing Emiratisation is an opportunity for businesses to enhance their capabilities, strengthen their teams, and contribute meaningfully to the nation's progress.

We stand ready to partner with organizations on this transformative journey, ensuring that they not only meet Emiratisation goals but also thrive in a competitive market by harnessing the power of local talent.

*Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you in your Emiratisation journey. Your success starts with the right talent!*


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