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Expats Sent to Back of Line for 160 U.A.E. Private-Sector Roles

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Expats Sent to Back of Line for 160 U.A.E. Private-Sector Roles

  • U.A.E. to spend $82 million to train citizens for private jobs
  • Gulf states aim to reduce burden of being main employer
Staff prepare food at a restaurant in Dubai.

Staff prepare food at a restaurant in Dubai.

Photographer: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

Staff prepare food at a restaurant in Dubai.

Photographer: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

The United Arab Emirates is renewing a push to boost the hiring of citizens by creating 20,000 new jobs and subsidizing their employment by private companies.

Emiratis must be given priority when applying for jobs in 160 private-sector positions, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, acting in his capacity as the country’s prime minister, tweeted on Sunday. About 80% of the population of the U.A.E., the Arab world’s second-largest economy, are foreigners.

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Cash-strapped governments across the oil-rich Gulf are seeking to reduce the burden of having to be the employer of first resort to the vast majority of its population. Private companies prefer foreign workers who tend to accept lower pay and longer hours than their local counterparts.

The U.A.E. will create 20,000 jobs for citizens over the next three years across sectors spanning aviation, telecommunications, banking, insurance and real estate. Every year, 8,000 graduates will be able to gain experience at private companies with 40% of their 10,000 ($2,700) monthly salary to be subsidized by the state, according to a statement from the Dubai Media Office.

The drive to train 18,000 citizens will cost the state 300 million dirhams, partly funded with proceeds from the recently introduced value-added tax. “Managerial” positions in government institutions will be limited to Emiratis, Sheikh Mohammed said.

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“Supporting Emiratization is not incompatible with our ongoing efforts to attract global talent in all fields,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote. “Talent is what establishes a strong and diversified economy that provides great opportunities for citizens and residents.”