Emiratis with a university degree who work in the private sector will now receive a Dh7,000 monthly salary top-up, up from Dh5,000 at present.
According to The National News, the changes were announced at a meeting of 500 senior government leaders on Wednesday.
The payment will be Dh6,000 for diploma holders and Dh5,000 for high school graduates.
The move is designed to attract more Emiratis away from government jobs, where salaries tend to be higher.
“There is no doubt that raising the levels of Emiratisation will reflect positively on the national economy,” said Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
A greater mix of Emiratis and foreign talent will give the private sector “higher levels of flexibility and greater opportunities to face global and local challenges”, he said.
Here is a quick recap of the recent Emiratisation changes:
What are the current Emiratisation rules?
For years, the government has been trying to boost the number of Emiratis who work for private companies.
Public sector hours and wages have traditionally been more attractive, and many UAE citizens have felt more comfortable in public service.
In September, leaders set out quotas for the first time and gave private companies deadlines to hit them.
By January 1, 2023, every privately owned business with more than 50 employees must ensure that 2 per cent of its workforce is Emirati.
That will rise by 2 per cent every year. By 2026, the government expects 10 per cent of the average workforce to be Emirati.
Companies registered in free zones, such as Dubai Media City and the Dubai International Financial Centre, are exempt from the quota but are encouraged to hire UAE citizens.
December 31 is the last day for companies to hit the initial 2 per cent quota.
Why the top-up payments?
Officials say they are pragmatic about the expectations of Emirati university graduates, in particular, who want a good starting salary.
At the same time, they know that private businesses operate in a highly competitive market and cannot pay people high salaries simply to hit a quota.
The salary top-up was introduced for this reason.
For example, an Emirati graduate being offered Dh13,000 a month in a starting role would take home Dh18,000 under the original Nafis programme, set out in September 2021.
This would now be Dh20,000 following Wednesday’s decision.
There are other benefits available, particularly for those having children. This includes Dh800 a child every month, up to Dh3,200 per family, in support for Emiratis in the private sector.
What happens if companies don’t hit the deadline?
The government has already said that there will be a financial penalty for companies that have not hit the quota.
This would be Dh72,000 in January, or Dh6,000 a month for every month in 2022.
Which companies are hiring the most?
Semi-government companies and local banks are currently the main employers of Emiratis in the private sector.
Companies such as Emirates Global Aluminium and Strata, the aircraft parts manufacturer based in Al Ain, are major employers of UAE citizens, with thousands on the payroll.
It is the wholly privately owned businesses that officials want to see act.
What’s the big picture?
The country’s leaders want to ensure 75,000 Emiratis enter the private sector in the next four years.
Last year, Dh24 billion ($6 billion) was pledged for the project to cover salary support and other factors. (NewsWire)