Members of the UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) will press the government to expand its Emiratisation drive, after the recent announcement of a new 10-year visa policy for expatriates.
According to reports in the local media, members sought reassurances there would be more opportunities for Emiratis, after the UAE Cabinet confirmed plans to allow investors and skilled expatriates to stay in the country for longer.
In particular, FNC members want the expansion of a policy announced earlier this year requiring 2,000 companies to prioritise the hiring of Emiratis over foreigners in 400 sectors. The Council would like to see the hiring of Emiratis to be prioritised right across the board.
“We need a comprehensive procedure that includes the entire job market – and not just sectors that the ministry covers,” Dubai member Hamad Al Rahoomi was quoted as saying.
“There are many other sectors outside the jurisdiction of the ministry and in all those jobs Emiratis should also be given a priority, whether within the private or public sector.”
Under the system, companies will not be forced to take UAE nationals on but must at least give them an interview. Should the company consider the candidate unsuitable they must explain to the ministry the reasons why.
In this way the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation hopes to provide an additional 15,000 job opportunities this year through the scheme compared to 6,862 roles secured for nationals in 2017.
Minister of human resources and Emiratisation Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli said 5,531 Emiratis had been recruited in the first four months of the year from 2,746 during the same period in 2017. He added that there were some 197,000 potential vacancies between January and April.
“It is quite normal for a country to want to see its own nationals in the local workplace rather than foreigners. In this way the local economy is supported, rather than funds being repatriated to other areas of the world”, an industry specialist told The Middle East magazine, this week. “However”, he went on, “it would be true to say that Emiratis have been used to being able to pick and chose the jobs they will do and this is unlikely to change. What is most important is that local applicants are not promoted beyond their levels of competence simply to keep Emiratisation levels topped up. Experience has shown that policy simply does not work”.
This edited article acknowledges the input of The National and Gulf Business