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UAE Studies Center: unproductive solutions of UAE regime facing rising unemployment

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The UAE is one of the most heavily employed countries in the Gulf, but unemployment among Emiratis is growing and it seems that citizens are suffering the most from the economic crisis and the emptying of some private enterprises from employees.

In April 2019, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Assistant Emiratisation for Communication and International Relations, Omar Al-Naimi, claimed that the country’s private sector provides more than 2 million jobs suited to citizens.

Al-Naimi’s statement at the time came a few weeks after an investigation published in the newspaper Al-Khaleej Times confirms that the ministry failed to recruit citizens and that the “recruitment” exhibitions are fake and to no avail. The official newspaper inquiry comes under rare criticism in the state, which controls the media.

In the past few weeks, young Emirati bloggers have been increasingly critical of the authorities as foreigners are increasingly employed in the public and private sectors, although young people in the country can fill these jobs with great competitiveness with foreigners.

Critics in the UAE are rarely seen for tight security and rampant social media, but many have broken their silence for failing to get jobs or feeling that the UAE’s youth are unemployed in their country and suffering unemployment.

UAE engineer Bader al-Kaabi posted tweets on Twitter complaining that “foreigners find jobs in after graduating from the university while citizens are without jobs.”

Employment encompasses both the government and the private sector.

They believe that the reason for this is that officials in government institutions prefer the foreigner because they follow the orders without opposition and it is easy to dismiss him from the job if his ideas conflict with those of higher officials.

The latest survey issued by the Federal Authority for Competitiveness and Statistics in 2017, the last year in which data on the availability of unemployment from the government, showed the increase of the unemployment rate in the country to 2.5%, and the unemployment rate among citizens 9.6% While expatriates 2.1%. Unofficial statistics indicate that the unemployment rate among UAE nationals exceeds 20%.

This is the largest decline since 2009, during the economic crisis that hit the country. Statistics in 2016 recorded 1.6% of which 6.9% among Emiratis and about 1.4% among expatriates.

According to 2017 statistics, the percentage of unemployed UAE nationals among the seven emirates is among the age groups (20-39 years) as follows: (29.1%) for those aged (20-24 years), and (23.8%) for those aged (25-29 years), (15.7%) for those aged (30-34 years), and (14.6%) for those aged (35-39 years).

These are the largest group of young people in the UAE who are unemployed under poor government measures to hire them.

In December, The National newspaper reported that unemployed citizens who could receive monthly unemployment payments starting from 6,000 dirhams (equivalent to US $ 1,634) would have to accept one of three job offers offered by the state. They risk losing their financial support from the government.

Some 39,000 people in Abu Dhabi received a total of 806 million dirhams ($ 219 million) in welfare payments in 2013, the latest year for which official data are available. This represents an increase from 25,300 people and 665 million dirhams over the figures for 2011.

In 2017, the cabinet set 11 billion dirhams for social welfare for three years. Instead of solving the problem of jobs with higher salaries than monthly unemployment payments, a UAE human resources report in July 2019 said the minimum salary was AED 5,000, especially for “full time”!