UAE citizens are voicing their concerns about private sector companies that have recently intensified their recruitment efforts to hire Emiratis, primarily to meet the set deadlines and quotas for Emiratisation. Some firms have been actively seeking Emiratis on job platforms like LinkedIn, focusing mainly on nationality rather than evaluating their skills and qualifications. Emiratis emphasize that their skills should be the main criterion for hiring.

Maryam Hamad, a freelance artist, is on the lookout for a job in her specialized field: Arts. Despite receiving numerous interview requests from employers for roles that did not align with her skills, she remains steadfast. She mentioned that some employers even offered higher salaries, but for her, it's not about the money; she is passionate about art and hopes to find a job that matches her interests.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) had set a deadline of June 30 for private sector companies to meet their nationalisation targets for the first half of 2024, aiming to increase the Emirati workforce by one percent. As reported earlier by Khaleej Times, in the weeks leading up to the deadline, job seekers were flooded with calls from companies to sign contracts, often for roles that did not match their skills or experience.

Emirati job seekers noted that the ministry provided ample time for private firms to hire locals. Some even received job contracts without undergoing formal interviews. Maryam H, an engineering graduate, was hired by a holding company with multiple subsidiaries. Despite her desire to work in a company that matched her qualifications, she was placed in a subsidiary unrelated to her major. She has now requested a transfer to an engineering company within the corporation.

Hajar Hassan, a media and communication graduate from Zayed University, expressed her appreciation for the Emiratisation program. However, her job search as a fresh graduate was challenging, as many media companies required prior experience. In April, she started receiving job offers from companies she hadn't applied to, with most roles unrelated to her skills and focused on English proficiency. After numerous interviews, she accepted a job with a high salary, only to receive a better offer that matched her qualifications before completing the joining formalities.

Another Emirati, Sabta Mubarak, with eight years of experience in data entry, left her previous job due to health issues. She recently received a job offer based on her experience, despite the low salary. However, the job turned out to be different from what she expected, with frequent transfers to various departments that did not utilize her experience. She noted that many Emiratis struggle to find suitable jobs due to last-minute hiring by companies to meet their quotas.

Private companies in the UAE are mandated to increase the Emirati workforce by two percent annually, aiming for at least 10 percent by 2026. This target is split into two halves, with one percent each. Non-compliance results in fines of thousands of dirhams for each unhired national. Experts have advocated for a year-round strategy for Emiratisation, rather than a last-minute rush to meet requirements.