Continuing its push to increase the employment of nationals (Emiratisation), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently enhanced existing employment protections, including against dismissal. The UAE’s policy objective — Vision 2021 — aims to have 50% of the UAE national workforce employed in the private sector by 2021.
Nationals must have a work permit and be hired for a minimum two-year employment contract and may only be terminated in limited circumstances. Termination is unlawful if:
The MOHRE may set up a mediation meeting to determine whether a termination is justified. Unlawful dismissal may result in the MOHRE referring the dispute to the Labour Court, which could result in reinstatement and/or suspension of new work permits for up to six months. A financial penalty of AED 20,000 per violation can also be imposed in the following circumstances: