Implementing a Nationalisation Programme With a Banking Recruitment Agency

As part of the UAE’s Vision 2021 initiative, it is one of the government’s goals to become a knowledge-based economy led by Emirati nationals. This is being achieved by the successful implementation of Emirati quotas in critical sectors.

Banking is one of the sectors where Emiritastion quotas have been enforced since the initiative began, unlike other areas such as healthcare, which has only been subject to quotas with recent changes in the law. This means that recruiters working in this field such as Flow have invaluable expertise at placing great UAE candidates in banking roles, due to their extensive experience.

If your organisation has failed to meet nationalisation targets, you should know that there is an easy way to remedy this – by working with a dedicated baking recruiter with a specialism in Emiratisation.

Banking companies can benefit greatly from partnering with a UAE recruiter to help them place Emirati nationals in key roles – and in this article, I will explain why.

Emiratisation and the UAE Banking Sector

The vision 2021 goal is being steered by the Emiratisation quotas which apply to different sectors – with banking being one of the first targeted. Quotas in banking have been in place since 1999, with the Central Bank implementing a 4% UAE national target for all entities within this sector.

The banking and insurance sector is one of the success stories of the UAE nationalisation programme.

It is one of the few sectors where Emiratisation quotas have historically met, and even exceeded targets, and is almost certainly down to the support of the main regulatory bodies – the UAE Central Bank and the UAE Insurance Authority.

The dedication of these two regulators is proof that Emiratisation can work successfully for both banking employers and employees when companies within the sector are empowered to attract and retain local talent.

Legal Implications

As the 2021 deadline draws ever nearer, there has been an increased push towards filling the maximum amount of allocated banking roles to talented Emirati nationals.

UAE employers are increasingly turning to banking recruiters to help guide them through the nationalisation process. The process and the laws surrounding it can be confusing, particularly to employers who have little experience of Emiratisation.

For example, while companies in the many free zones in the country are encouraged to act in the interest of Emiratisation, they are not legally obliged to. Initially, only larger-scale retail banks were subject to nationalisation targets, but in 2017 the law was changed so that one UAE national must be employed within all representative offices.

The nationalisation guidelines are continually being changed and updated, and companies who fail to comply are at risk of being issued with a find of Dh20k for every point below their target. Working with a banking recruiter with a specialism in Emiratisation will ensure that your company doesn’t get penalised for failing to hit targets.

The complexities of hiring Emirati nationals has meant that this recruiting has evolved into a sector of its own, which some recruiters, such as Flow have chosen to adopt as a specialism.

The Benefits of Using a Banking Recruiter for Your Nationalisation Programme

Wherever your company is on its journey towards meeting nationalisation targets, for banking, it is always a good idea to partner with a specialised recruiter to hire your new employees.

The main benefits include-

  • The certainty that you are receiving the best calibre of candidates to meet your nationalisation targets.
  • The ability to be transparent with your recruitment process, and be satisfied that you are following due process for your nationalisation targets.
  • A reduction in the risk of being penalised for not meeting your targets.
  • Your UAE banking recruiter will have access to passive candidates – this is critical as the competition for Emirati talent is higher than it has ever been.
  • Additionally, an external recruiter will help guide you through the complexities and requirements of hiring Emirati nationals.

Flow Financial & Technology are dedicated to working alongside the UAE government to meet their Vision 2021 targets, and Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 objectives, further down the line.


Many UAE companies have struggled to implement effective recruitment processes to accommodate Emiratisation targets. If this has happened within your organisation, now could be the time to start working with a recruiter who specialises in both banking and Emiratisation.

With the support of a dedicated recruiting partner, you will be safe in the knowledge that not only are your nationalisation targets being taken care of but also that you are receiving the best candidates for the job. 



About Flow Talent

Flow Talent have been sourcing the best Banking, Technology & Financial Services professionals locally and internationally for leading organisations across the Middle East region since 2018.

The Middle East is a dynamic and growing market where identifying top talented professionals for your organisation is highly competitive and we offer a range of recruitment services to help you with this.

To find out more get in contact with one of our team today.