After years of pushing companies to employ nationals, the FNC’s Emiratisation committee will call for stronger measures to lower unemployment rates when sessions resume this month.
Hamad Al Rahoomi (Dubai), who promised voters in the 2011 elections that he would keep Emiratisation at the top of his agenda, said there were many job openings but 40,000 nationals are unemployed.
“This state we are in is abnormal,” Mr Al Rahoomi said. “No matter what, we should not reach such high unemployment rates. I think this is a very important issue to all locals and companies.”
Two years after the committee was formed, its members say a detailed report is ready to be discussed with ministers as soon as the FNC reconvenes.
The report claims more Emiratisation is needed and includes a plan drafted by members to resolve the issue.
While it has yet to be revealed, the study predicts that by 2020, 150,000 Emiratis will be jobless unless the plan is followed.
Mr Al Rahoomi said the lack of clear policies allowed the problem to worsen. It needed immediate action “that would resolve the issue for good”.
For this, companies must be required to hire locals and offer them at least the same salaries as those in the public sector.
This would compensate for lower job security in the private sector and the possibility of being squeezed out by expatriates, Mr Al Rahoomi said.
“If we ask them to work for half the salary, this will not happen,” he said.
He said it was illogical and unfair to have two Emiratis, both graduates of the same class, with a Dh15,000 salary gap between them just because one was a government employee and the other was working in the private sector.
“Emiratisation cannot continue like this,” Mr Al Rahoomi said. “Companies cannot give Emiratis a small shoe and ask them to wear it. They will put up with it for a while until they throw it away.”
It was no surprise that companies have complained Emiratis stay on for a couple of years at most then move on, he said. While the Khalifa Fund has tried to help with subsidising salaries, a nationwide programme is needed.
Mosabeh Al Kitbi (Sharjah), who is also on the committee, said members would also call for changes to the labour law to make private-sector jobs more secure for Emiratis.
Mr Al Rahoomi said a clause insisting that companies only hired a foreigner if there was no national for the job was not being enforced.
“This is not executed right now,” he said. “If you have 40,000 available to work, any one of them can be an accountant, a secretary or go into a lot of other jobs on offer.”
He said the FNC would not tolerate Emiratis being hired as token gestures to allow companies to meet quotas.
“This is completely against what the council stands for,” Mr Al Rahoomi said. “Companies also have the right to get a good employee.
“With our plan, there will be a certain section at the Ministry of Labour to ensure no bogus Emiratisation.”
The argument that Emiratis were not up to the task was no longer valid, he said, as they had proven their capabilities.