New Emiratisation rules in UAE: From salary support to unemployment benefits, how Nafis helps firms, employees

The federal programme was launched in September last year to accelerate the country's development journey and boost its economy


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 16 Nov 2022, 11:32 AM

Last updated: Wed 16 Nov 2022, 11:02 PM

In an important step towards limiting negative employment practices, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and the Emirati Competitiveness Council (Nafis) have begun implementing fines for companies falsifying Emiratisation data.

According to the rule, an establishment caught carrying out fake Emiratisation to get Nafis benefits could face a fine between Dh20,000 and Dh100,000 for each bogus Emirati employee. In addition to this, the financial support and other benefits will be suspended, and the paid amounts recovered.

With companies in the UAE’s private sectors having less than 50 days remaining to meet the latest Emiratisation targets, here is a comprehensive explainer on Nafis and its role:

What is Nafis?

It is a federal programme to increase the competitiveness of Emirati human resources and empower them to occupy jobs in the private sector. Launched in September 2021, as part of 'Projects of the 50', the programme aims to accelerate the UAE’s development journey and boost the economy

What is the objective of Nafis?

The programme aims to:

  • Create a partnership between the public and the private sectors so that the private sector can become the key driver of the UAE’s development journey
  • Offer equal opportunities in the private sector to attract Nationals, enabling them to occupy 75,000 job opportunities in the sector over the next five years
  • Provide coaching, professional training, mentoring services, and counselling to the programme participants to foster the attraction of the Emirati human resources to the private sector.


What are some of the benefits offered by Nafis to Emiratis?

  • Emirati Salary Support Scheme: This supports the salaries of Emirati Nationals wishing to work and get involved in training programmes in the private sector. Those employed for a full-time job are eligible for a top-up of the difference between their salary and the relevant target salary, no greater than a specified ceiling amount.
  • Pension Programme: The Pension programme helps Emirati employees and employers alike in their pension fund contributions.
  • Child Allowance Scheme: This aims to support Emirati employees by providing them with a child allowance for up to four children.
  • Talent Programme: It works to develop the competencies of national cadres to train Emiratis and develop their specialized competencies to obtain international professional certificates.
  • Apprentice Programme: A 12-month training program with financial rewards in private and semi-governmental companies to support the development of Emirati graduates' expertise in various sectors.
  • National Healthcare Programme: It aims to develop national competencies in the field of nursing through paid scholarships and through the health assistant program for high school graduates, the diploma/higher diploma in emergency medicine, and the bachelor’s program for nursing. It will qualify and empower 10,000 citizens in the health sector during the next five years.
  • Unemployment Benefit: Unemployment benefit provides support to employees having recently suffered from a loss of job due to reasons beyond their control for up to 6 months. The person receiving unemployment benefit must be actively looking for a job with the help of the relevant authorities. If the person receiving the unemployment benefit refuses to join a job that is offered to them, they lose their right to claim this unemployment benefit. The payoffs are as follows:

— Dh2,200 for the Emirati National who lost his/her job

— Dh1,100 for the spouse of the Emirati National on the condition that the spouse is unemployed

— Dh800 for every child, for 4 children as a maximum

— Dh550 for every child beyond the 4th child

  • Vocational Counselling Programme: It is based on providing career guidance and counseling services that help discover appropriate skills, opportunities, and career paths, in addition to providing guidelines for writing a CV, the basics of interviewing, and work ethics.
  • On-the-job training programme: The on-the-job training support aims to support the salaries of Emirati Nationals wishing to get involved in practical training programmes in the private sector through Nafis. Emiratis entering a new on-the-job training position in the private sector after 13 September 2021, and who are under a graduate trainee permit can benefit from a monthly salary linked to the educational level

Which companies are mandated to increase Emiratisation?

Firms with 50 or more employees are mandated to raise their Emiratisation rate by 2 per cent of overall skilled jobs. It covers all sectors and fields of the private sector.

What are the penalties for not meeting Nafis requirements?

Starting January 1, 2023, those who fail to comply will have to pay Dh6,000 per month for each Emirati who is not employed.

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