When setting up a business in Dubai, entrepreneurs have to consider the kind of hiring practices they wish to adopt in their company. The UAE's population is composed primarily of expats at present. However, the government is trying to counteract this imbalance with its efforts to enhance Emirati representation in the private sector. This Emiratisation program seeks to incentivise the hiring of locals, offering various concessions to their would-be employers and imposing certain limitations on expat hiring. The goal is to encourage Emiratis to pursue employment beyond government jobs.
Therefore, when starting a new company in Dubai, entrepreneurs have to choose between the time-tested strategy of hiring foreign jobseekers or offer the same opportunities to the local talent, while availing the government concessions that come with hiring them.
For entrepreneurs setting up a business in the UAE, below are some factors to consider when hiring expats over Emiratis:
Additional benefits when hiring locals
The government offers significant benefits to employers who hire Emiratis. The benefits include discounts on transaction fees, when processing employment permits. In addition to this, employers who meet certain Emirati-recruitment targets, while cultivating diversity in their workforce, are further facilitated with the residency visas, labour cards and/or ID cards for their non-local employees, as a reward.
These incentives may be particularly valuable to entrepreneurs who are planning to open a company in Dubai. By ensuring there is sufficient Emirati representation in their company, they can make the hiring of foreigners easier as well.
Wider pool of experience when hiring foreigners
The current pool of Emirati professional talent lacks certain key skills. Recruitment giant Hays notes the existence of a skills deficit among Emiratis, particularly in the fields of technical engineering, digital marketing and communications, finance and HR. Foreign job seekers are more likely to have acquired the industry-specific accreditations that makes them better qualified for roles within those industries. Entrepreneurs who have recently opened a company in Dubai, require high-calibre output from their employees in order to make their mark in the competitive local market.
Cost advantages of hiring expats
It is often cheaper to hire expats than locals. Recent research by recruitment firm GulfTalent reveals that UAE employers are showing a hiring preference for Asians due to their lower salary expectations. The firm noted that there was a surge of interest in hiring talent from India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, who brought the same skill set as their local and Western counterparts, but at lower rates. Some business consultants in the UAE recommend this hiring strategy to new entrepreneurs, to mitigate the high costs of opening a business in Dubai.
Exclusive Emirati hires
Some positions are reserved exclusively for UAE nationals. For example, for a number of years, large-staff businesses set up in the UAE have been compulsorily required to hire Emiratis or GCC citizens in roles, such as the public-relations officer, in companies with a staff of over a hundred people. Moreover, any company with over 1,000 employees must hire two UAE nationals as data-entry operators.
Do you have more questions about the requirements of starting a business in Dubai? Our experts at Decisive Zone have all the answers. Contact us now to book an appointment.
Decisive Zone is a business setup company helping you find the best-suited solution when establishing a company in UAE. Decisive Zone will advise you on the corporate structure and jurisdiction to choose from, while covering all technical, administrative and financial aspects of UAE business setup.