UAE: Over 100,000 citizens work in private sector, says Sheikh Mohammed

Figures showed that 70,000 Emiratis have taken jobs at private companies in the last two and a half years after the launch of Nafis programme


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Published: Sun 26 May 2024, 11:56 AM

Last updated: Sun 26 May 2024, 9:57 PM

The number of citizens working in the private sector has crossed more than 100,000 citizens for the first time in the history of the UAE.

Encouraging figures released on Sunday revealed that 70,000 Emiratis have successfully secured jobs at private companies in the last two and a half years, a direct result of the impactful Nafis employment programme launched by President Sheikh Mohamed in September 2021.

Reviewing the Emiratisation strategy in the private sector, Sheikh Mohammed, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, lauded the generous support of Dh24 billion for the programme and the launch of "many legislations that support and stimulate Emiratisation in the private sector and accelerated economic growth in our country."

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Earlier in the month, the UAE Cabinet decided that Emirati applicants with at least three years of experience in private sector companies will be given priority in federal government jobs.

“Experience in the private sector will be added as one of the (requirements) when appointing an employee to the federal government,” the Cabinet said.

Taking to social media Sheikh Mohammed wrote: "Our private sector and our government sector work in harmony and integration. The national and non-citizen workforce enjoy hundreds of thousands of opportunities provided by our national economy. Our goal is to add 100,000 new jobs for citizens during the next three years."

Nafis programme

Since the launch of the Nafis programme, the UAE has been encouraging Emiratis to take up jobs in the private sector.

Private companies in the country are required to increase the percentage of their Emirati workforce by two per cent every year to reach at least 10 per cent by 2026. This target is divided into two: 1 per cent in the first half and another 1 per cent in the second.

Starting July 1, the ministry will be checking companies’ compliance. Those who fail to meet the target will have to pay a fine of Dh48,000 for every Emirati not hired in the first six months of the year. Calculated at Dh8,000 per month per person, penalties pile up for every month a company is unable to fill up the required slots for UAE nationals. The monthly fine increases by Dh1,000 every year.

Inspections are regularly carried out to ensure compliance. Since mid-2022 until May 16 this year, more than 1,300 were caught violating Emiratisation rules.

The total number of Emirati employees in the private sector has grown at a rate of approximately 170 per cent since September 2021, when the government launched the federal initiative aimed at increasing the employability of Emiratis in the country's private sector.


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