No expat quotas for UAE, says Dubai Police chief

UAE will not follow Saudi Arabia with visa penalties for companies that don’t hire locals
No expat quotas for UAE, says Dubai Police chief
Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim
By Edward Attwood
Sun 17 Jul 2011 07:15 AM

No expatriate quotas are planned for the UAE in light of recent visa changes in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the head of Dubai Police has said.

“No, there is no such thing as special treatment for locals, and we will never force hiring locals because forcing companies to take locals is not productive,” Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told Arabian Business.

“We will encourage hiring locals on merit and for their suitable qualifications. Then we could support those companies who are hiring locals by granting them contracts.”

“And based on my experience with the way the HH the Ruler of Dubai thinks, I see no chance of that happening,” Lt Gen Tamim added.

Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s largest state, has introduced the Nitaqat quota system, which will see those companies that do not hire sufficient numbers of locals banned from reissuing expatriate residency visas when they expire.

The system has caused consternation amongst expatriates in the kingdom. Labour minister Adel Fakieh has said that he expects around 20 percent of companies to find themselves in the ‘red’ - or worst-performing - category, and that not all expatriates in poor categories will be able to be re-employed elsewhere.

Recent reports in the UAE have suggested that Abu Dhabi has laid off many expats as it looks to lower costs and hire more locals.

Lt Gen Tamim also said that many expatriates and visitors see Dubai as a safe destination, whether they were travelling to the emirate for holiday, work, or to escape “uncertainties” in their own countries.

“Dubai has been extremely lucky because of the troubles in the region which have forced business people and investors to seek a safe refuge for their investments,” he said.  “Some of them are relocating to Dubai from Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Yemen in addition to other countries in the region.

“All the Gulf tourists who used to spend their summer breaks in those countries, or in Lebanon, are coming now to Dubai.”

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