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The announcements were made on September 12, 2021. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: On September 12, the UAE announced a sweeping programme of reforms and financial incentives to drive new private sector opportunities for both young and experienced Emiratis, with an investment of Dh24 billion to create 75,000 new private sector jobs for Emiratis.

Several new projects were launched as part of the ‘Nafis’ programme, to increase the competitiveness of Emirati human resources and empower them to occupy jobs in the private sector in the next five years. Here is a roundup of all these projects:

Unemployment benefit

An unemployment benefit will be paid to Emiratis working in the private sector who lose their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control, giving them a six-month period to find another position.

Startup break

Beginning 2022, a subisdised career break for Emiratis in federal government positions to start a business extending between six to 12 months, with a monthly grant of 50 per cent of the employee’s salary and giving them the opportunity to return to their original position.

This will be open to a limited number of staff each year with employer approval.

Early retirement

An opportunity for Emiratis in federal government positions who wish to retire early to start a new private sector business, while retaining their entitlement to full end-of-service pension benefits.

Alternatively, they can elect to receive a five years’ lump sum or golden handshake.

This will be open to a limited number of staff each year with employer approval.

Graduate Fund

A fund of Dh1 billion to provide microloans to university students and fresh graduates in collaboration with UAE universities to support students in starting their business and nurture entrepreneurs in the private sector.

Emirati salary support scheme

A grant to incentivise recruitment of young Emirati graduates in private sector companies, paid to staff of:

First year (on job training)

A monthly salary top-up of up to:

Dh8,000 for university graduates.

Dh6,500 for diploma holders.

Dh4,000 for high school graduates.

This will be a one-year salary support.

Five years

A monthly salary top-up of up to:

Dh5,000 for university graduates.

Dh4,000 for diploma holders.

Dh3,000 for high school graduates.

This monthly support will be paid for up to five years.

These top-ups are conditional and based on a range of define target salaries.

Merit programme

For Emirati workers in specialised fields, including nurses, accountants and financial auditors, lawyers, financial analysts and coders.

A monthly across the board salary top-up of Dh5,000.

Pension programme

A five-year subsidised government-paid contribution on the company’s behalf against the pension plan contributions of Emirati staff earning less than Dh20,000 monthly. The programme will be across the first five years of their employment.

The pension plan contribution for employee, employer and the government:


Year 1 – 0%

Year 2 – 0%

Year 3 – 0%

Year 4 – 0%

Year 5 – 0%


Year 1 – 0%

Year 2 –2%

Year 3 – 4%

Year 4 – 5%

Year 5 – 6%


Year 1 – 20%

Year 2 – 18%

Year 3 – 16%

Year 4 – 15%

Year 5 – 14%

Child allowance scheme

A government child allowance payment will be made to Emirati staff working in the private sector of up to Dh800 per child, up to a maximum of Dh3,200 per month, to help with the costs of childcare, up to the age of 21.

Talent programme

Dh1.25 billion investment in developing specialised vocational skills for Emiratis, with internationally recognised certifications in property management, accounting, business management and technology skills.

Apprentice programme

A train-to-hire initiative to build vocational training for Emiratis in private and semi-private companies, with a range of financial awards for trainees across a number of business sectors.

Recruitment targets

A government subsidised recruitment target beginning with a base of two per cent Emiratis in knowledge and skilled worker positions in private sector companies in the UAE. A rising scale across five years to reach a target of 10 per cent Emirati employees after five years.

National Healthcare Programme

An education grant programme targeting the development of 10,000 Emirati healthcare workers within the coming five years.

• Graduate Healthcare Assistant Programme

• Higher Diploma in Emergency Medicine

• Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

The programme will be supported and led by Fatima College of Health Sciences and ACTVET (Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training).