UAE will change labour law, minister tells FNC

Emiratis must account for 5% of private sector workforce and 6% of total UAE workforce

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Labour Law will be changed to live up to the ambitions of the leadership, citizens and private sector, and to fit the post-oil era, Nasser Bin Thani Al Hameli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, told the Federal National Council on Tuesday.

Al Hameli was speaking as the human resources policy was discussed, but he did not give a time frame as to when the new law would be issued.

The minister stressed that the goal is to achieve the national agenda indicators, especially to have citizens in five per cent of the private sector jobs. “The new law will address all basic requirements of the post-oil era,” Al Hameli said.

The UAE Emiratisation targets by 2021 are: 50 per cent of Emirati workforce to be employed in the private sector; and Emiratis must account for five per cent of the private sector workforce and six per cent of the total UAE workforce.

Al Hameli said 400 selected professions in 2,000 private companies will now have to give priority to Emiratis when recruiting.

Members of the House stressed the importance of developing legislation to implement Emiratisation policies, plans and programmes in the UAE labour market.

Hamad Al Rahoumi, a member from Dubai, the presence of Emiratis in the private sector does not live up to expectations, especially when the UAE boasts of a labour market that has four to five million jobs.

‘Enforce law’

Mohammad Ahmad Al Yamahi, a member from Fujairah, questioned the measures taken by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation to create jobs in the private sector for citizens.

A report by the human resources committee demanded that the Labour Law be firmly enforced to ensure that eligible Emirati jobseekers are given top priority in employment, before a company pursues work permits for non-Emiratis.

Members of the House repeatedly demanded that Article 14 of the UAE Labour Law, which gives first priority to qualified citizens to fill vacant positions in the private sector, be firmly enforced.

The minister in charge of human resources development last month announced a slew of initiatives and policies aimed at accelerating Emiratisation, empowering citizens and raising their competitiveness until 2021.

Al Hameli said these initiatives will contribute to the creation of 15,000 jobs suitable for citizens in 2018 in strategic economic sectors, in addition to enabling the participation of national human resources in the labour market and raising their competitiveness.

Recent success

The ministry was able to get 6,862 citizens employed in the private sector in 2017, an increase of 22 per cent over 2016, during which 5,608 citizens were employed.

The ministry has developed a new methodology based on three basic principles. The first is to consider Emiratisation as a joint responsibility that requires the development of partnerships with the federal and local governmental sector and the free zones.

The second is developing a strategic framework for workforce planning by focusing on qualitative Emiratisation in targeted sectors.

And the third is to continue to encourage businesses to adopt Emiratisation and encourage citizens to enter and continue to work in the targeted sectors and jobs.

Al Hameli said the ministry has launched several initiatives and programmes to be implemented in three phases until 2021. The first phase, which will be implemented this year, targets acceleration and enhancement of direct employment and training of citizens.

This phase includes four major initiatives, the first of which is the qualitative Emiratisation initiative, where more than 2,000 companies operating in vital strategic sectors will be targeted, with 400 jobs identified as priorities for employment by citizens. In total, these sectors will provide more than 15,000 jobs suitable for citizens by the end of this year.

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