MoL Wants More Jobs for Emiratis

Adel Arafah
Filed on December 18, 2008

ABU DHABI - The Ministry of Labour (MoL) has proposed restructuring of visa fees for bringing in expatriate workers in a bid to create more job opportunities for Emiratis, according to a plan unveiled on Tuesday.

Minister of Labour Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash told the Federal National Council (FNC) session that the ministry wants to encourage skilled expatriate workers to come to the UAE.

However, the government is under pressure to find jobs for 250,000 nationals to raise the strength of the UAE national workforce to 500,000 by 2020. Reminding the national jobseekers that the public sector would not accept more newcomers, the minister urged them to foray into the private sector.

On the expatriate workers, the ministry proposes to reduce the visa fees of highly skilled professionals and increase the fees for bringing menial and unskilled workers into the country.

The plan would be submitted to the National Demographic Structure Committee soon to decide on its enforcement. “The Federal Government is in the process of forming a permanent council for demographic structure with a mandate of finding drastic solutions to the issue,’’ Saeed Ghobash revealed.

The council would restructure the economic pattern so as to diversify the labour market in the country to create new job openings.

He noted that 65 per cent of the expatriate workers in the country are in the construction and retail sectors.

“We are also drafting another plan to tackle the imbalance in the demographic structure through extensive use of modern machinery by the public and private sectors.” This move, in his view, would eliminate unwanted workforce.

Members of the FNC, meanwhile, proposed to the MoL to consider varying fees for bringing in workers in accordance with the importance of the business and the economic activity for which they are to be employed.

Fees could be reduced for companies with high productive value, with aim of boosting the trend towards less number of employees but adopting advanced technology.

The house also called for increasing fees for bringing in menial workers, such as those involved in retail sale outlets, small restaurants, food outlets and 
cafeterias. It also recommended specifying the quotas for employing non-Arab nationalities according to the geographical regions they belong to.

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