UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Emiratization ratio  

February 27, 2024

By: Vivek Radhakrishnan, Immigration Manager, Middle East & Africa Operations

The Emirati Human Resources Competitiveness Council (Nafis) has introduced initiatives to increase Emiratization (also known as localization or nationalization) in private companies. Their aim is to have 75,000 Emirati citizens working in the private sector over the next five years. This is part of a trend that is also taking place in other countries in the region.

Companies with more than 50 workers: Emiratization rate will increase by 2 percent annually for skilled jobs, with the aim to achieve a 10 percent increase by 2026. Failure to meet the minimum ratio will result in a financial penalty of AED 6,000 per month for every citizen who has not been employed.

Companies with 20-49 workers: Companies are required to hire at least one Emirati national. From January 2025, the requirement will increase to two Emirati nationals. Failure to meet the minimum ratio will result in a financial penalty of AED 96,000 in 2024, which will be increased to AED 108,000 in 2025. The Emirati requirement will apply to companies in the following sectors:

  • Information and communications 
  • Financial and insurance activities 
  • Real estate activities 
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities 
  • Administrative and support services 
  • Education 
  • Healthcare and social work activities 
  • Arts and entertainment 
  • Mining and quarrying industry 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Construction 
  • Wholesale and retail trade 
  • Transportation and warehousing 
  • Hospitality services 

 Newland Chase Insight

Companies should review and monitor their recruitment policies to ensure they maintain the Emiratization ratio.  

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case or company-specific assessments.