UAE work visas: Companies must ensure diversity in hiring practices

Recent reports suggest that some companies in the UAE are facing challenges in obtaining work visas for potential employees from specific South Asian nations.

UAE Work Visa Procedure Addresses Demographic Diversity

Upon application for new visas for individuals of the same nationality, companies are receiving a message from authorities urging them to "achieve demographic diversity while hiring."

In stark contrast to viral accusations, visa experts and agents categorically deny the claim that the UAE has temporarily suspended visa issuance for Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis in the nation. In an endeavor to ensure a diverse workforce, industry insiders emphasize that the message regarding diversity attainment is not gender-specific.

Upon inquiry by a business service center, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) clarified that establishments must diversify nationalities during the hiring process. Companies are encouraged to allocate the first 20% of available quotas to different nationalities, emphasizing that this procedure aims to enhance the demographic diversity of establishments rather than target a specific nationality.

According to a representative from the MoHRE call center, achieving the initial 20% diversity requirement is essential. If a visa application is rejected based on the diversity criterion, companies are advised to recruit someone of a different nationality for the same role. This requirement is not exclusive to any particular nationality and applies universally.

As of now, the diversity rule does not apply to free zones, providing companies operating within those zones with flexibility in obtaining work permits. However, mainland companies are encouraged to adhere to the diversity guidelines.

The Ministry had introduced a three-tier classification system in 2022, where achieving diversity in hiring was a criterion for companies to receive a higher classification. This classification offers companies eligibility for discounts on work permits and transfer fees, aligning with the UAE's commitment to promoting social and cultural diversity in the workplace.

Read also: UAE introduces new law to enhance public-private sector collaborations

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