Emirati Workers Quota: How To Adapt Your Business


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While the focus has been on the introduction of new taxation laws in Dubai, there was also an announcement that was shared at the same time: the Emirati Workers Quota update. 

The Emirati workers quota requires UAE based companies with 50+ employees to have a minimum number of 2% of Emirati employees in their workforce. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Emirati Workers quota, and how you can adapt your business to it. 

Emirati Workers Quota

Firstly, the Emirati workers quota isn’t actually a new concept. Companies operating in the banking and finance industry have been required to maintain a quota of 4% Emirati employees, while companies in the insurance industry have been required to maintain a quota of 5%. These rules are subject to the number of employees in the company. 

This used to be a very specific requirement dependent on industry. Now, every business in Dubai that employs over 50 workers will need to have at least 2% of an Emirati workforce. The numbers on that work out at 1 Emirati worker in every 50 employees. 

Workers Quota Dubai

The Emirati workers quota is part of the UAE’s larger Emiratization initiative, which aims to increase the participation of Emirati nationals in the private sector workforce and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign labor. Included in the wider initiatives are support for training and education programmes and financial incentives for companies that hire Emirati nationals, among many others.

While an admirable policy for local Emiratis, this does require an element of adaptation from your business to maintain compliance with the quota. Here’s how to do so. 

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Adapt To Emirati Workers Quota

Here are some ways in which you can stay on the right side of the requirement. 

  • Develop a recruitment strategy:

If you’re on the cusp of meeting the employee count quota, you should be taking steps towards ensuring your next hire(s) put you on the right side of the quota. To do this, ensure your recruitment strategy is positively aiming towards the recruitment of Emiratis.  Aim to attract local Emiratis to your positions by partnering with local schools, colleges, and universities to promote your business and identify potential candidates, offer internships or apprenticeships to Emirati students, and make your business front and center of the Emirati community. 

  • Train and develop your existing employees:

While there is naturally a lot of focus on the hiring element of the quota, focus should also be placed on upskilling your existing Emirati employees to increase the chances of retention. Provide access to education and training courses for your existing employees, offer them the opportunity to enroll in mentoring and coaching programs, and create a growth environment for your employees to work in.

  • Partner with Emiratization programs:

There are dozens of Emiratization programs that provide businesses with access to a pool of qualified Emirati candidates. Partnering with these programs both makes strategic sense, and could open up the opportunity to access special subsidies and grants for training of Emirati workers.

  • Be flexible:

The reality is, with the quota, you may need to be flexible with qualifications and experience levels to fill a position in your company. Adapt your hiring criteria to ensure you don’t shut out any potential Emirati workers for your position, and if they aren’t a perfect match, allow for some adaptability. Don’t forget – if you’re also committed to upskilling your team, you will close any skill gaps in no time. 

  • Engage with local communities:

The local community is where you will find the next Emirati worker for your business. While you’re connecting with Emiratization programs, make sure you’re talking to the people on the ground who could be the next candidate for your business. By starting at the very heart of the community, you will give yourself the chance be at the front of their thoughts as a business. 

Would you like to speak to somebody about how to adapt to the requirements for the Emirati worker’s quota? Reach out to us at 800 SETHUB (738482) Set Hub, or [email protected].