• Jun 112024
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NAFIS Program: Empowering Emirati Talent in the Private Sector

Unlocking Opportunities: An Inside Look at the NAFIS Program for Emiratis and Private Employers

What is the NAFIS Program?

The NAFIS Program is a UAE government initiative aimed at boosting the employability and competitiveness of Emirati citizens. This program focuses on creating ample job opportunities for Emiratis in the private sector over the next five years.

As part of the "Projects of the 50" NAFIS aims to accelerate the UAE's development by offering financial incentives to private sector companies that hire Emirati fresh graduates and professionals aged 18 and above.

Dr. Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, highlights the program's ambition: "Under the NAFIS Program, the UAE aims to increase the number of Emirati beneficiaries from 75,000 to 170,000 within the next five years."

Objectives of the NAFIS Program

The NAFIS Program aims to create a supportive environment for Emiratis, offering them opportunities for professional growth and development. Here are the key objectives:

Boosting Public-Private Partnerships

NAFIS promotes collaboration between the public and private sectors, empowering the private sector to contribute significantly to the nation's growth.

Developing Emirati Skills

NAFIS focuses on upskilling Emiratis, providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to fill 75,000 private sector jobs over the next five years.

Promoting Job Equality

NAFIS advocates for equal job opportunities for Emiratis in the private sector, encouraging them to explore various career paths.

Creating More Jobs

NAFIS aims to make the private sector more attractive for Emiratis, catering to their career goals and aspirations.

Offering Comprehensive Support

NAFIS provides participants with coaching, professional training, mentoring, and counseling to strengthen the Emirati workforce in the private sector.

Initiatives by NAFIS to Transform Emirati Talent

The NAFIS Program targets various sectors and industries in the private domain, offering benefits to Emiratis aged 18 and above. By registering on the NAFIS platform, citizens can access job searches, training opportunities, and program applications through UAE Pass, subject to eligibility criteria.

The NAFIS Program was rolled out in two phases, each with distinct initiatives:

Phase 1 of the NAFIS Program

Launched in October 2021, Phase 1 introduced several key initiatives to support Emiratis professionally and financially:

Emirati Salary Support Scheme

This scheme provides additional financial support to Emirati professionals on top of their salaries from private companies. The top-up amount varies based on the role, compensation, and industry, helping Emiratis achieve their desired salary levels.

Must read: Average Salary in Dubai: Cost, Comparisons & Insights

Pension Program

Under this scheme, Emirati professionals are eligible for a pension to plan for retirement. Private sector companies must register their Emirati employees with the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) within 30 days of employment. Employees also contribute 5% of their salary to the pension fund, with the government adding an extra 2.5%.

Child Allowance Scheme

For the first time, the UAE government provides child-related financial support. Emirati professionals in the private sector earning less than AED 50,000 per month can receive AED 600 per child (up to four children under 21).

Unemployment Benefit

This benefit offers financial support to Emiratis who lose their private sector jobs due to circumstances beyond their control. The scheme provides AED 7,000 for the unemployed professional, AED 4,500 for their unemployed spouse, and up to AED 3,000 for their children, depending on the number of children.

Job Offers

The Job Offers program provides a unified platform for posting job opportunities for Emiratis, helping unemployed nationals find suitable positions within the private sector.

These initiatives collectively aim to enhance the professional and financial stability of Emirati citizens, fostering a skilled and competitive workforce in the UAE.

Phase 2 of the NAFIS Program

NAFIS launched Phase 2 in March 2022, introducing specialized training and development programs. Key initiatives in this phase include:

Talent Program

This talent program aims to develop national expertise through training and international certifications, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Global Market Academy and the Center for Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT). Emirati nationals working in the private sector who meet certain requirements can upskill through this program.

Apprentice Program

The Apprentice Program offers vocational training to recent Emirati graduates, matching them with apprenticeships in private companies to build experience. Private and semi-governmental companies receive financial incentives for supporting Emirati graduates.

National Healthcare Program

This program focuses on nurturing Emirati healthcare professionals through scholarships and specialized training, particularly in nursing. The goal is to empower 10,000 citizens in the health sector over the next five years.

Vocational Counseling Program

The Vocational Counseling Program provides career guidance and counseling services to help individuals identify suitable skills, opportunities, and career paths. It also offers advice on CV writing, interviewing, and work ethics.

As the NAFIS Program evolves, it underscores the UAE's commitment to creating a highly skilled and competitive workforce while enhancing the vitality of the private sector. This program promises significant benefits for Emirati citizens and contributes to the nation's broader economic development goals.

NAFIS Program's Rewards and Penalties

The NAFIS Program is carefully designed to strengthen private industries by supporting Emirati nationals in their career growth. It offers incentives and financial support to private companies that comply with its regulations. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan launched the first cycle of ‘The NAFIS Award’ for 2022-2023 to recognize companies excelling in hiring and nurturing Emirati talent and to celebrate outstanding Emirati professionals in the private sector.


The NAFIS Award celebrates private sector companies that excel in hiring UAE nationals and supporting Emiratisation schemes. It also recognizes outstanding Emiratis for their professional achievements, encouraging others to strategically build robust careers.


To prevent misuse of the program's benefits, the government has imposed heavy fines and penalties. From June 2023, private companies unable to meet their Emiratisation quotas face a fine of AED 6,000 for each unfulfilled position. Companies with 50 or more employees must increase their Emiratisation percentage by 2% annually. In 2022, 436 companies were fined for violating Emiratisation rules by showcasing false job placements, with AED 2.3 million recovered from Emiratis who unknowingly occupied dubious positions.

The government now conducts stringent checks to ensure the NAFIS program benefits are used as intended.

How to Register for the NAFIS Program?

Registering for the NAFIS Program is a straightforward process designed to help Emirati nationals access job opportunities, training, and other benefits. Here are the steps to register:

  1. Visit the NAFIS Portal: Go to the official NAFIS website or portal where the registration process is hosted.

  2. Create an Account: Click on the 'Register' or 'Sign Up' button to create a new account. You will need to provide personal details such as your name, email address, and mobile number.

  3. Verify Your Identity: Use your UAE Pass for identity verification. UAE Pass is a secure national digital identity platform that allows you to authenticate your identity online.

  4. Complete Your Profile: Fill in your personal information, educational background, and professional experience. Make sure to upload your updated CV.

  5. Eligibility Check: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria set by NAFIS. This typically includes being a UAE national aged 18 and above and other specific requirements depending on the program or benefit you are applying for.

  6. Browse Opportunities: Once registered, you can browse through job opportunities, training programs, and other initiatives available on the NAFIS platform.

  7. Apply for Programs: Select the programs or job opportunities that match your skills and interests and submit your application through the portal.

  8. Follow Up: Keep an eye on your application status and any communications from the NAFIS team. You may be required to provide additional information or attend interviews or counseling sessions.

Additional Tips

  • Stay Updated: Regularly log in to the NAFIS portal to check for new opportunities and updates.

  • Utilize Support Services: Take advantage of career counseling, training programs, and workshops offered by NAFIS to enhance your employability.

  • Network: Engage with employers and other professionals through events and programs facilitated by NAFIS.

By following these steps, you can successfully register for the NAFIS Program and access a wide range of opportunities designed to enhance your career prospects and professional development.

Final Thoughts

The NAFIS Program underlines the UAE’s unwavering commitment to building a highly skilled and competitive workforce while enhancing the vitality of its private sector. This initiative holds immense promise for Emirati citizens and plays a significant role in advancing the nation’s broader economic development agenda.

NAFIS is more than just a program; it's a pathway to a brighter future for Emiratis, offering opportunities for career growth, skill enhancement, and financial stability. As the program continues to evolve, it will remain a cornerstone of the UAE’s strategy to empower its citizens and foster a robust and diversified economy.

Through continued collaboration with the private sector, educational institutions, and government entities, NAFIS will ensure that Emirati talent is nurtured and utilized effectively, driving the nation towards greater prosperity.


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