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FNC member presses for prioritising Emiratis over expats in private sector

FNC member to quiz official on why law giving priority to citizens has not been firmly enforced

Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
The UAE Labour Law gives first priority to qualified citizens to fill vacant positions in the private sector.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A member of the Federal National Council demanded the Labour Law be firmly enforced to ensure that eligible Emirati jobseekers are given top priority in employment, before pursuing to issue a work permit for non-Emiratis.

Hamad Al Rahoumi, a member from Dubai, is set to quiz on Tuesday Nasser Al Hameli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, on why article 14 of UAE Labour Law, which gives first priority to qualified citizens to fill vacant positions in the private sector, has not been firmly enforced.

Al Rahoumi, who served as the head of the House’s Emiratisation Committee and repeatedly called for article 14 to be firmly enforced, said had this clause been enforced since the 1980s, the UAE would have achieved full employment by now and all Emirati human resources would have been used in the most efficient way possible.

He branded private employers’ excuses that it was difficult to find Emiratis qualified for some posts “invalid, because many major private companies and all government departments are run by citizens and they have proved excellent and competitive at international levels.”

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.

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

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

Al Hameli said the number of jobs created for citizens did not rise up to our ambition and aspirations as the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, stressed the need to accelerate the pace of Emiratisation, which is moving slowly.

The Emiratisation plan comes as part of a pilot project that was launched in December 2016, aimed at employing UAE nationals in the private sector across the UAE.

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.

The House will also debate policies of the Federal Electricity and Water Authority.

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