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Mandatory for UAE construction firms to hire Emirati health officers

Mandatory for UAE construction firms to hire Emirati health officers

The new rule will be applicable from 2017 on companies with a 500 plus workforce

Construction firms in the United Arab Emirates have to employ an Emirati health and safety officer starting next year, according to a new ruling.

The ruling will be imposed on all construction firms that have over 500 employees, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced.

“We will stop granting companies with over 500 workers any further work permits if they don’t hire at least one local occupational health and safety officer,” official news agency WAM quoted Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Saqr bin Ghobash as saying.

“The decision came following a strategic plan to promote employment opportunities for locals in the private sector and to implement Emiratisation, which is a priority for the leadership,” he said.

“The ministry aims to Emiratise the occupational health and safety profession following careful consideration of the sectors involved in the construction industry and major industrial enterprises where the possibilities were found to provide attractive and stable opportunities for Emirati job seekers.”

The ministry will closely monitor the implementation of the new directive, he added.

“I personally believe in the adherence and commitment of employers of the decisions, especially since such a decree emphasises on employing qualified citizens. It is a joint and shared national responsibility between the government and the private sector,” he said.

UAE citizens will be provided with training programmes to prepare them for the role, Ghobash added.

A recent survey of 52 employers in the UAE by human resource consultancy Mercer found that 46 per cent were on track with their Emiratisation targets.

More than half (56 per cent) also said their company had specific policies or programmes in place for Emiratisation.

However, 25 per cent responded that the question – or the policy – did not apply to them.

Overall, Emiratis were found to make up less than 10 per cent of the total workforce in half of the companies surveyed.

Read more: 25% of UAE firms say Emiratisation does not apply to them – survey

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