Talent acquisition in the UAE

Talent acquisition in the UAE 

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Abu Dhabi has a rich and diverse talent pool. Education is one of the government’s most important tenets and that’s reflected in the world-class schooling system found in the emirate. Several local universities are listed in the global university rankings including United Arab Emirates University, Khalifa University, Zayed University and Higher Colleges of Technology. The emirate is also home to the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, the world’s first AI university.

Abu Dhabi invests heavily in education and has provided a number of incentives to encourage foreign operators to establish schools and universities in Abu Dhabi. Foreign higher education institutions with branch campuses in Abu Dhabi include Sorbonne University, University of Strathclyde and New York University.

For senior executives, INSEAD’s Abu Dhabi campus offers several education programmes, including a Global Executive MBA.


Your Visa process and entry to Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is a global hub for attracting and retaining the world’s best talent, both locally and internationally.

If you are planning to employ foreigner nationals, you will need to make sure they hold a valid work visa. Standard employment visas are provided to employees joining a company on a full-time basis, through either an indefinite or a fixed-term contract.

The validity of visas ranges from two to three years, depending on the location of your company. The cost might vary depending on the classification of companies, areas of company registration, position the visa is being considered for, etc. However, a common range for fees is between AED 3,500 and 6,000, which is inclusive of processing fees.

Documents required for a standard working visa normally include:

  • Original passport

  • Offer letter with company seal/sign and employee’s signature

  • Employment contract detailing the employee’s profession and agreed compensation

  • Attested education certificates (applicable to certain professions)

  • Immigration Establishment Card copy

  • Trade Licence copy

  • Passport photos of the employee



The UAE Government launched the ‘Emiratisation’ initiative to promote the inclusion of Emiratis in the job sector, particularly in the private sector. The aim of the programme is to increase the number of young Emiratis in employment and entrepreneurship programmes.

A quota system on private sector employers was introduced whereby companies in certain sectors are encouraged to engage local talent to ensure a strong representation of Emiratis within their workforce. This includes:

  • 2% of the workforce of entities operating in trading activities if the total workforce exceeds 50 employees

  • 4% of the workforce of banks

  • 5% of the workforce of insurance companies if the total workforce exceeds 50 employees

  • 1 Public Relations Officer if the total workforce exceeds 100 employees

  • 1 Emirati H&S officer is required for establishments operating in the construction and industrial sector with 500+ employees

  • 2 Emirati data entry clerks for establishments with 1000+ employees (in order to operate the MHRE online system)

For more information, visit: Vision 2021 and Emiratisation


Golden Visa - Thrive in Abu Dhabi

In 2021, Abu Dhabi launched its “Thrive in Abu Dhabi” programme to promote long-term Golden Visas and a pathway to citizenship for international talent working, creating, studying, excelling and investing in key sectors and specialties in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE’s Golden Visa is available in Abu Dhabi for international investors and top talent from around the world, providing them with visas for up to 10 years. This includes people and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, specialists, scientists and inventors. It is also open to talented creative and sporting individuals and business, startup and real estate investors in the emirate.

For more information, visit: tamm.abudhabi


For more information about investing in Abu Dhabi, download the complete Abu Dhabi Investor Guide on ADIO's website, or through the download box below:

ADIO Investor guide 2021

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