New policies encourage local hiring while retaining expatriate population

21 Nov 18


The United Arab Emirates has unveiled two new policies aimed at strengthening the economy by encouraging local employment while attracting and retaining wealthy expatriates.

  • Emiratization pilot program. An updated professional classification list known as ‘Emirati Professional Classification’ that categorizes 3,000 professions based on qualifications and skill levels is being piloted in Umm Al-Qaiwain before it will be adopted in all emirates. The list contains private-sector professions that will be subject to Emiratization and is intended to improve local employment in targeted professions and boost economic productivity.
  • Five-year residency for wealthy expats. In 2019, a new law is expected to allow expatriates over 55 years old to obtain five-year residency with the possibility of renewal if they either own property worth 2 million dirham (about US$545,000), have savings of 1 million dirham or earn an income of 20,000 dirham per month. This will be a non-employment-based visa and could be a good option for expats working in mainland companies, as foreign employees over 65 are normally restricted to one-year work and residency visas (free zones typically allow three-year visas for workers over 65).

Analysis & Comments: The changes come among a raft of reforms aimed at spurring economic growth during the current slump. The Emiratization pilot program will provide private-sector job opportunities for locals, especially the UAE’s growing youth population, as public-sector opportunities are currently limited. The longer-validity residency for older expatriates may enable mainland companies to attract foreigners who contribute to the economy.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.