UAE issues new laws in latest labor market reforms

Heavy penalties imposed if private firms do not meet the Emiratisation criteria
UAE issues new laws in latest labor market reforms
People are seen in front of Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, UAE (Photo Credit: Reuters)

The UAE aims to build a competitive knowledge economy by employing more Emiratis.

The Cabinet, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, adopted new resolutions within the latest economic reforms. 

The UAE decided to increase the Emiratisation rate to 2 percent annually for high-skilled jobs in establishments that employ 50 workers or more.

Private sector firms will need to pay heavy penalties if they do not meet the enhanced Emiratisation criteria, while attractive incentives will be offered to companies that do.

The UAE wants to see Emirati nationals representing 10 percent of private sector staff in companies with more than 50 employees by 2026.

Similarly, as part of its efforts to attract talent and investment amid increasing regional economic competition, the UAE has introduced a form of unemployment insurance. 

Insured workers would receive some money for a limited time period if made unemployed.

The statement did not specify whether this would apply equally to citizens and non-citizen residents in the UAE.

Gulf states Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi have provided some form of unemployment support to citizens, and Bahrain also has a form of jobless insurance for resident non-citizen workers.

Moreover, the country approved a new housing policy, which aims to provide financing for housing loans through partnerships with the private sector and national banks. The Sheikh Zayed Housing Program will finance the profits of the loans on behalf of the Emiratis. The housing loan financing program aims to issue 13,000 housing decisions for the next five years (2022-2026) worth 11.5 billion Emirati dirhams.