No doubt that UAE is a home to many people that migrated to this land of opportunities from their homeland but the Law of Emiratization is proving to be a hurdle in their way. In these migrants the majority is of labor class that works in different shifts to make both ends meet. On the other hand, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization is actively emphasizing on providing equal opportunities to UAE nationals in private sector. [Read here] In a recent update from MOHRE, another attempt is made to convince the private sector companies to employ locals over foreign labors against low labor registration and additional benefits to the member companies. The officials are trying to maintain a balance between foreigners and local laborers but – as one of the Facilities Management Companies in Dubai – we strongly feel that the reaction from private companies is somewhat unclear in this regard.
WHAT DOES THE EMIRATIZATION LAW SAYS?
According to this law, the government is trying to employ the locals both in public and private sector for maintaining a sound balance between immigrants and UAE citizens. The government has already started different initiatives to empower the unskilled locals to be employed in different business sectors and earn their livelihood.
The officials have made different amendments in this law from time to time since its implementation in public and private business sector to encourage businesses for hiring the UAE citizens instead of relying on foreign workforce only. As one of the facilities management companies in Dubai, we feel that even if the law has been implemented from over a decade, the success rate in its implementation is very little and is about 0.34% up till now.
WHY BUSINESSES HOLD BACK IN THIS REGARD?
We believe – as the one of the facilities management companies in Dubai – that the primary factor in businesses’ oppose of implementing this rule is the hiring and waging costs that is comparatively double for the UAE citizens. A recent research, conducted in Institute for Social & Economic Research (ISER) at Zayed University, suggests that companies prefer foreign workers over nationals due to their endurance in working long hours and on comparatively low wages. The most influenced industry where companies prefer an expatriate than an Emirati is the oil mining and construction sector that require working long hours which ultimately costs a high price to hire the labor. Secondly, the expenses on workforce’s training and development is another factor due to which companies hold back for hiring locals over expatriates.
HOW IS IT AFFECTING THE SOCIETY?
While the companies care about controlling their increasing expenses, the government is more concerned about the diminishing identity of Emiratis in the first place. According to the same report, around 40M immigrants work in UAE’s labor class in around 260,000 private sector companies. This situation is leading to below mentioned scenarios that could prove a big problem for all the concerned parties:
- Indians, Pakistanis, Filipinos and Bangladeshis are at the top of immigrant’s list in labor class and the number is growing each year. This growing tendency is creating problems for both Government and businesses for creating adequate work opportunities for newcomers and the locals within an organization.
- However the situation is leading the country to become a multicultural place but the Emiratis are gradually losing their cultural identity following the increase of immigrants. This is one of the many reasons that MOHRE has taken this initiative to maintain a sound balance in cultural diversity.
- It will also raise the issues of providing residencies for both locals and immigrants with adequate place to live in.
According to our experience as one of the facilities management companies in Dubai, in coming years the work opportunities would not be enough for both current residents and new immigrants if the tendency does not slow down. So the ministry and businesses have to work together in finding a more sound solution that is viable both economically for the business sector and does not affect the social elements of UAE for which the ministry is concerned.