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UAE Visa Policy Update: Emphasis on Workplace Diversity in Hiring Practices

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently updated its work visa policies, placing a significant emphasis on promoting diversity in the workplace. This move aligns with the country’s broader objectives of ensuring a balanced demographic representation and fostering an inclusive work environment.

Under the new directives, some companies in the UAE have been advised to consider a wider range of nationalities when hiring. This development came to light when firms predominantly employing staff from specific South Asian countries faced challenges in obtaining work visas for new employees of the same nationalities. Authorities are now urging these companies to “achieve demographic diversity while hiring.”

Contrary to rumors circulating online, visa experts and agents have clarified that the UAE has not halted visa issuance to individuals from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Instead, the focus is on diversifying the workforce. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has stated that for the initial 20% of their available quotas, establishments must hire employees from varied nationalities. After meeting this requirement, companies are free to hire from any nationality.

It is important to note that this policy seems to apply exclusively to mainland companies and does not extend to businesses operating in free zones.

In 2022, MoHRE introduced a three-tier classification system for companies, where achieving a diverse workforce is a criterion for attaining a higher classification. This initiative is part of the UAE’s strategy to integrate social and cultural diversity into the core values of the private sector. It aims to provide equal employment opportunities for all, while also supporting the country’s Emiratisation agenda.

This update in the UAE’s visa policy is a significant step towards enhancing the cultural and social fabric of the country’s workforce, ensuring that it remains vibrant, diverse, and inclusive.

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