20 percent of jobs for UAE nationals

Companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be required to have at least one-fifth of their staff made up of local citizens, Dubai-based website Emirates 24/7 reported on Wednesday, citing the country’s Labour Ministry.

The 20% job reservation for nationals is part of labour market reforms aimed at boosting the Emirati share in the workforce and comes into effect next month, the report said.

Emiratis make up less than one-fifth of the population of the UAE, which relies on a constant influx of expatriates for jobs ranging from construction work to investment banking.

There have been occasional calls to address the demographic imbalance amid fears of the UAE losing its national identity.

"Today Emiratis are very concerned about their national identity, as the number of foreigners is rising rapidly and nationals are now a minority in their own country," Dubai police chief Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told local daily Khaleej Times recently.
"To keep the balance, I recommended a quota system that would ensure that the number of other nationalities should not be more than UAE nationals and Arabs," he was quoted as saying.

Out of 230,000 Emiratis in the 15-24 age group only 15,000 are employed in the private sector, according to a report in Gulf News recently.

It noted that Emiratis made up just 1.5% of 2.6 million private sector workers last year.
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