DUBAI (MEMO) – Private sector companies in the UAE will have to fill 10% of their positions with Emirati nationals in five years time, the UAE said on Sunday, reported Reuters.
Oil-rich Persian Gulf countries like the UAE have traditionally relied heavily on expatriate workforces for skilled and cheap labor. Citizens largely worked in government jobs.
The UAE historically sourced most of its nursing staff from countries such as the Philippines and India.
Since the 2014-2015 oil price shock and as Persian Gulf states try to diversify their revenue bases away from hydrocarbons, they have increasingly encouraged their citizens to work in the private sector rather than be on the state’s payroll.
The initiatives are part of 50 new economic projects the UAE is announcing this month to boost the country’s competitiveness.
The UAE, a regional business and tourism hub, has launched several measures over the past year to attract investment and foreigners to help the economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes also come amid a growing economic rivalry with Persian Gulf neighbor Saudi Arabia to be the region’s top trade and business hub as Persian Gulf states move away from oil economies.