UAE: New visa, law reforms to give more choices to job-seekers

It is estimated that approximately 70 per cent of the country's employers plan to hire new workers next year


Waheed Abbas

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File photo
File photo

Published: Sun 9 Oct 2022, 2:09 PM

Job seekers now have multiple chances to get a job in the UAE after the introduction of a host of new labour and visa reforms by the government in the last few months.

On Friday, the UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) updated its regulation on employment relationships in order to provide greater flexibility, by removing the limit on the duration of job contracts.

Under these new amendments, employment contracts must cover a defined term, which can be renewed subject to an agreement by both parties to a contractual relationship. The law does not set a cap on that term period.

This will protect both parties in a balanced way, advancing the labour market’s growth and stability and enhancing the UAE’s economic competitiveness.

The new forms allow firms to increase employee numbers to meet the growing demand for manpower. It is estimated that approximately 70 per cent of UAE employers plan to hire new employees next year – and around 50 per cent of the companies that plan to hire in the next three months will be hiring for a maximum of five jobs, while 25 per cent will be hiring about 6 to 10 workers.

Deepa Sud, CEO, Plum Jobs – a Dubai-based HR business transformation and executive search consultancy – said lifting the employment contract duration cap is a very positive move for employers, as it will significantly reduce employee turnover and the expectation from employees and candidates that they are entitled to a salary increase at every juncture of a new contract.

Photo: Deepa Sud
Photo: Deepa Sud

“A contract renewal should not determine when a compensation package is reviewed and revised", she said.

"Startups and SMEs are always conscious of visa processing costs when hiring as this is generally a high HR operating cost.”

With a more long-term view approach, Sud is working with many firms to implement mechanisms to ensure that organisations are conducting robust evaluations prior to hiring and renewing contracts, to reduce the risk of an employee leaving.

The UAE has also rolled out a host of initiatives, such as job-seeker visas to explore new opportunities, and golden and green visas for professionals and skilled workers to help employers retain talent.

Sarah Dixon, managing director of Hays in the Middle East, has said that more expats will come into the UAE and base themselves here while seeking work after the job-seeker visa launch.

Photo: Sarah Dixon
Photo: Sarah Dixon

“Jobseekers that are already settled ‘on the ground’ and are available to meet potential employers are at an advantage", said Dixon.

"Those based here improve their chances of being interviewed and ultimately hired as it shows commitment to the UAE, and less ‘risk’ for an employer in comparison to someone currently abroad – therefore putting these jobseekers at the top of the resume pile for selection."

Sud said over a period of time, the culture within organisations will change as employees become more settled in their roles. Organisations will begin to view employment as long-term rather than a stepping stone or short-term.

“For many, their mindset will shift towards their career progression and skills development with a more focused approach,” she added.


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