n Acta Commercii - Political economy and citizen empowerment : strategies and challenges of Emiratisation in the United Arab Emirates : original research

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2413-1903
  • E-ISSN: 1684-1999



The United Arab Emirates' labour market by design is inclined to exclude generally the Emirati population from active participation in the private sector, in order to take advantage of cheap labour primarily from South Asia.

The aim of this article was to explain, using labour market segmentation theory, how the present epoch of free market capitalism in the 'minority state' of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has socially excluded its' citizens.
The pro-national Emiratisation or employment policy project implemented by the federal government in 1998 provided an opportunity for UAE citizens to be fully absorbed in the private and public sectors. Researching the process as it unfolded, insights are unearthed as to why Emirati citizens are still on the periphery of the country's labour market.
The article employed a qualitative methodology using the UAE as a single case study.
The research on the UAE's Emiratisation or labour nationalisation policies found that there are a number of systemic and structural barriers that have hampered the successful implementation of government policies in both the private and public sectors.
Policy makers need to be able to differentiate between the systemic, structural and institutional factors that have stymied government's attempt at addressing the country's demographic imbalance and the social exclusion of Emirati citizens from the labour market.
This research has filled a gap in literature on the theme, and has also deviated from earlier research findings on the barriers to achieving policy targets.

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