Private companies with 20 to 49 employees are now subject to Emiratisation targets… 

Important update relevant to small business owners in the UAE: On Tuesday, July 11, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) announced the expansion of private sector companies subject to Emiratisation targets.

The expansion means private companies with 20 to 49 employees are now subject to the Emiratisation targets. Previously, the rules only applied to companies in the private sector with over 50 employees.

What are the new Emiratisation targets?

With the aim to increase the number of Emiratis employed in certain positions, small businesses across 14 different sectors are now required to hire at least one Emirati in 2024 and another in 2025. 

Companies who fail to employ an Emirati in 2024 will be fined Dhs96,000, which will increase to a Dhs108,000 fine for companies who haven’t hired two Emiratis by 2025.

The 14 sectors affected by the new Emiratisation rules: 

  • Information and communications
  • Financial and insurance activities
  • Real estate
  • Professional and technical activities
  • Administrative and support services
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Transformative industries
  • Education
  • Healthcare and social work
  • Construction
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Hospitality and residency services

What is Emiratisation?

Emiratisation is an initiative by the UAE government to increase the employment of UAE nationals within the private sector (free zone companies are exempt).

The requirements differ depending on the size of the company, as of January 2023 those that have a workforce of 50 or more employees must meet a three per cent Emiratisation target.

For more information, visit

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