In 2024 and 2025, all small and medium-sized businesses in the UAE must employ at least one Emirati national

As part of the national emiratisation program, companies with between 20-49 employees must employ at least one UAE national in 2024 and 2025. Previously, this requirement applied only to entities with a staff of 50 people or more.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), a fine will be imposed for violating these requirements. If a company fails to hire a UAE national in 2024, it will be fined AED 96K (USD 26.1K), and in 2025 the fine increases to AED 108K (USD 29.4K).

This requirement applies to entities that operate in 14 key industries:

  • real estate;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • construction;
  • hospitality business;
  • arts and entertainment;
  • financial and insurance activities;
  • professional and technical activities;
  • administrative services and support;
  • information and communications;
  • mining and quarrying;
  • transforming industries;
  • educational services;
  • health services and social work;
  • transportation and warehousing logistics.

This initiative will give local university graduates the opportunity to find employment in SMEs , allowing them to showcase and develop their talent and make valuable contributions to the UAE economy.


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