The Law

Information below are excerpts from various sources including The Ministry of HR & Emiratisation. Please refer to the sources for the most accurate and current information. 


The UAE encourages the public and private sectors to implement Emiratisation policies at all levels through the establishment of a special department, quota and incentives.


Building a competitive knowledge economy is one of the six pillars of National Agenda in line with Vision 2021.


The UAE has set 11 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track its progress in this field, two of which are directly related to Emiratisation:

  • Emiratisation Rate in Private Sector (3.38% 2016 Report)
  • Share of UAE Nationals in the Workforce (7.19% 2016 Report)



To overcome the structural division in the labour market, the UAE Government launched the Emiratisation (Tawteen in Arabic) campaign which mandates the inclusion of Emiratis in the job sector, particularly in the private sector. Emiratisation aims to increase the number of Emiratis in the job market and their contribution to the economy.


The drive for UAE National employment began with the amendment of the Labor Law in 1980's. (Federal Law #8)


Application of Emiratisation

The UAE encourages the public and private sectors to implement Emiratisation policies at all levels through the establishment of a special department, quota and incentives.


Ministerial Orders 41, 42 and 43 of 2005 impose on private sector employers a quota system, whereby every company with more than 100 employees is obliged to recruit (and retain on the payroll) the stipulated number of UAE nationals to ensure the minimum percentage of participation of Emiratis in the workforce.


Companies with lower grading are required to file mandatory financial guarantees, the amount of which will depend on the category of the employer (as set out in the relevant Order). 


  • Trade sector firms employing 50 or more workers shall undertake to employ
    Nationals at an annual rate of 2%, pursuant to the Council of Ministers’
    Resolution No. 259/1 for 2004. (Ministerial Orders 41)
  • Firms engaged in insurance activities shall undertake to employ
    Nationals at an annual rate of 5%, pursuant to the Council of
    Ministers’ Resolution No. 202/2 for 2003. Ministerial Orders 42)
  • Banks operating in the UAE shall undertake to employ Nationals at an
    annual rate of 4%, pursuant to the Council of Ministers’ Resolution
    No. 10 for 1998. (Ministerial Orders 43)
  • MoHRE decided that all construction facilities with a workforce of 500 or more employees must appoint at least one Emirati occupational health and safety officer from 2017.
  • Starting from 2017, companies that are registered with Tas'heel's online services and that employ over 1000 workers would be required to hire Emirati citizens for the data entry positions.


to bridge the gap between the private and public sectors in meeting the Emiratisation targets outlined in the development plans, the UAE Federal Government and the Abu Dhabi Government have put in place several legislations and policies.


  • The UAE Labour Law, or the Federal Law No. (8) of 1980, stipulates that employers who recruit unemployed UAE nationals must notify the Labour Department (branches of the Ministry of Labour) about it in writing within 15 days from the date of employment.
  • Since September 1999, UAE nationals working for private companies are entitled to the same social security and pension benefits as UAE nationals working for the Government.
  • As per the Administrative Circular No. (26) of 2005, all companies with more than 100 employees, as shown in the database of Ministry of Labour, shall appoint UAE Nationals in the post of government relation officers (GRO) who liaise between the company and the Ministry of Labour.
  • The Ministerial Decision No. (43) of 2005 requires the banking sector in the UAE to achieve an annual Emiratisation target of 4%.
  • The Ministerial Decision No. (42) of 2005 requires the insurance sector in the country to achieve an Emiratisation target of 5% annually.
  • The Ministerial Decision No. (41) of 2005 requires commercial companies with 50 employees or more to employ UAE nationals at an annual rate of 2%.
  • The Ministry of Labour in 2006 fixed the minimum wage for UAE nationals with post-secondary school certification working in the private sector at AED 5,000, for secondary certificate holders at AED 4,000 and for others below secondary certificates at AED 3,000. The Ministry is currently reviewing this decision.
  • The Ministerial Decision No. (176) of 2009 considers the termination of UAE nationals employed in the private sector unlawful unless the worker has violated the labour law. In addition, employers must notify the Ministry of Labour 30 days in advance in case of terminating a UAE national.
  • The Ministerial Decision No. (544) of 2011 set up a new classification of companies and establishment based on the number of UAE nationals employed. The classification offers several incentives for companies that meet Emiratisation targets including lower labour card fees.



Initiatives for the employment of Emiratis




Mandatory Positions:


Initiative Started:


  • National Human Resource Development & Employer Authority 1999


Abu Dhabi

  • Human Resource Authority 2005 (employed 4211 Job seekers in private sector upto 2016)
  • Public sector accounts for 52 percent of the Emiratisation of jobs in Abu Dhabi (2016)
  • Private Sector accounts for 4 percent of total employment of Emirati workforce in Abu Dhabi
  • Banking Sector 34.4 percent by the end of 2009 (largest private sector employer of UAE nationals)


Procedures to employ Emiratis in the private sector

In May 2018, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) introduced a new system for hiring and firing Emiratis in the private sector. As per this new system, citizens will be employed only at those businesses that are registered with the ministry in accordance with the following steps:

  1. The employer should submit the required documents to issue the citizen, a work permit. Then, MoHRE will issue to the citizen a package of documents, including the work permit, labour contract, Absher card and work duties and rights guidelines. MoHRE will provide the citizen with guidance and training services needed as per the requirements of the labour market.
  2. Work permit and labour contract information will be sent to General Authority of Social Insurance and Pensions or any other local or insurance fund within 6 months from the date of the work permit to update the citizen file.
  3. Submission of complaints, whether by a citizen or an employer should be done via a form prepared for this purpose. The complaint will be sent to the labour relations department at the ministry to be discussed and settled, or referred to the court.
  4. The decision defines four scenarios under which the termination of the citizen’s service is considered without a legitimate cause. They are:
    1. If the termination of the service of the citizen is not based on Article 120 of the Labour Relations Regulation Law, which allows the employer to terminate the worker’s services if the worker impersonates a false person, submits false certificates or documents or if the worker breaks the instructions regarding the safety of the work provided that these instructions are written and posted in a visible place
    2. If it is proven that the owner of the company has retained a foreign worker who performs the same work as the citizen whose service has been terminated or if it has been proven that the termination of the citizen’s service was for the purpose of replacing him with a foreign worker to take the same job
    3. In the event the employer terminates the employment relationship for a reason not related to the work, especially if the termination of the service of the citizen is due to submitting a serious complaint to the competent authorities or to file a lawsuit against the employer
    4. If the employer fails to abide by the regulations of ending the service of Emirati workers
  5. The employer shall submit an end of service report to the citizen at the end or termination of the work relationship between the parties, by filling out a special form that includes reasons for ending the relationship including improper work environment, a better career opportunity, or other reasons whether by the employer or the citizen
  6. If the ministry was certain that the employment relationship was terminated for an illegal reason by the citizen or the employer and was unable to resolve the dispute and return the citizen to his work, the dispute will be referred to the competent court after five working days from the date of notifying the parties involved to resolve the dispute amicably but efforts proved futile
  7. Reducing the level of priority of the citizen in the register of job seekers for a period not exceeding six months from the date of illegally ending the employment relationship by him
  8. Suspending issuance of new work permits to the company for a period of not more than 6 months from the date of judging the complaint in favour of the citizen
  9. In all cases of termination of the service of the citizen, the employer must pay its share and the share of the insured (the citizen) in the contributions due for pensions and social insurance approved in the country and in any other fund required by the legal systems in force in the ministry
  10. The ministry will re-register the citizen after the end of his service in the register of job seekers as long as he is able and willing to work and seeking a job. The priority in the appointment will be determined in accordance with the qualifications and experience and the circumstances of termination of services.