UAE says will revoke expat work permits if there is an Emirati replacement

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is leading a drive to prioritise the hiring of Emiratis

The UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has said it will revoke work permits given to foreign nationals if they can be replaced by a citizen.

The announcement comes amid a government drive to prioritise the hiring of Emiratis over foreigners, who make up an estimated 88 per cent of the country’s 9.5 million population.

In a short Twitter video, the ministry listed three reasons it “may occasionally revoke work permits granted to foreign nationals”.

These included if the worker has been unemployed for more than three consecutive months, if conditions under which the permit was granted were violated and “if the foreign national can be replaced with a UAE citizen”, according to an infographic.

In February, the ministry said it would ask around 2,000 private sector firms to prioritise Emiratis ahead of foreigners for vacancies.

The National reported at the time that the government organisation had selected 400 job titles and positions that it wanted Emiratis to have the opportunity to fill before an expat is hired.

Read: UAE asks 2,000 companies to prioritise Emirati hiring

Companies will not be forced to take UAE nationals on but must at least give them an interview that otherwise may not have been granted.

Should the company consider the candidate unsuitable they must explain to the ministry why.

The ministry said it wants to provide 15,000 job opportunities this year through the scheme compared to 6,862 roles secured for nationals in 2017.