The UAE's economy
The UAE enjoys an overall economic stability, which has led to a large scale of job opportunities for local and foreign workers. In 2017, the UAE-based foreign workers remitted AED 164.3 billion to their home countries. The money directly benefits some of the world's poorest communities, thus raising the standards of living of the people in the recipient countries.
The UAE's gross domestic product at current prices is estimated to be AED 1280.8 billion by the end of 2016 (PDF).
Vision 2021 focuses on the UAE becoming the economic, touristic and commercial capital for more than two billion people by transitioning to a knowledge-based economy that promote innovation, research and development.
In November 2013, the United Arab Emirates was nominated to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. The Expo is estimated to create 275,000 jobs and cater various sectors including tourism, aviation and infrastructure.
The 'Green Growth Strategy' launched in 2012, seeks to enhance the country's competitiveness and the sustainability of its development. The strategy presented six focus areas:
- Green Energy
- Green Investment
- Green City
- Climate Change
- Green Life
- Green Technologies.
In 2015, the UAE government injected AED300 billion to foster a knowledge economy, driven by innovation to prepare the UAE for a world after oil.
In addition, the UAE has developed several strategies such as Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and Dubai Plan 2021 to diversify its national income based on a sustainable and knowledge-based economy.
Read about the UAE's strategies and plans.
Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, known before as Ministry of Labour is responsible for overseeing the employer-employee relations and maintaining labour rights for the private sector.
In order to ensure a decent work and economic growth, the UAE made enormous efforts including laws, policies and awareness campaigns to enhance work condition for employees of the public sector, private sector and free zones. Some of these efforts are:
Adoption of Emiratisation programmes
The UAE Government launched the Emiratisation campaign which mandates the inclusion of Emiratis in the job sector, particularly in the private sector.
Read about Emiratisation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Standardising labour contracts
The UAE has introduced a new standard employment contract and requested the employers to abide by fully. This contract is mandatory to finalise the employment procedures and it applies to workers coming from outside and those residing in the UAE, as well.
Upon selecting a candidate to fill a job vacant, an employment offer will be issued by the employer. The offer must conform to the standard employment contract and it must duly signed by both the employer and employee.
The offer letter is registered with Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and at that point, an employer can apply for an employment visa for the employee.
The ministry further stipulates that no new clauses may be added to the standard employment contract unless they:
- are compliant with the ministry's legal requirements
- do not conflict with other clauses of the standard employment contract
- the employer gains the approval of the ministry.
The offer is available in Arabic and English, plus a third language of the labourer's choice from the following:
Free labour movement
Further, the UAE Government launched new laws that enable workers to move freely between employers. It also reevaluated every aspect of working in the country from recruitment to housing. Reforms are made to ensure that all workers are treated respectfully and able to report instances of maltreatment easily.
You can check the links below for reforms and eServices related to labour and work conditions:
Laws for employees of private sector
Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 also known as the Labour Law as amended governs the labour rights of employees in the private sector.
As amended by Federal Law No. 24 of 1981 and Federal Law No. 12 of 1986, the provisions listed in the law do not apply to the following categories:
- employees and workers of the federal government and the local governmental departments
- employees and workers in public entities and institutions, whether federal or local, and employees and workers appointed for governmental, federal and local projects
- members of armed forces, police and security
- domestic servants in private households and similar occupations
- workers in farms or pastures with the exception of persons working in agricultural institutions processing the products thereof or the persons permanently operating or repairing mechanical machines required for agriculture.
Protecting labour rights
Several laws and ministerial decrees are in place to ensure safety of workers in the UAE by imposing environment, health and safety standards and fines on offenders. Read more.
Online services for migrant labours
Useful links from government websites and news reports:
Read more about the sustainable development goal 'Decent work and economic growth'.
Updated on 20 Dec 2018