UAE Visa Issues Update: Companies Must Want to Ensure National Diversity While Hiring

Recently, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), some companies have encountered challenges obtaining work visas for individuals from specific South Asian nationalities. While rumors circulated that visas for Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis were being halted, experts and authorities have clarified the situation.

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Reports emerged when certain companies, predominantly comprising employees of a single nationality, faced obstacles in securing visas for individuals of the same nationality. The authorities, however, clarified that this was not a blanket restriction on visas for specific nationalities but a call for diversified hiring practices.

Addressing the Diversity Quotient

When a business service center in Dubai contacted the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), they were informed about achieving demographic diversity in the workplace. Establishments were advised to allocate the first 20% of available quotas to different nationalitiesβ€”notably, this directive aimed at fostering diversity within companies rather than singling out any specific nationality.

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Companies encountering the message to “achieve diversity” were urged to explore hiring individuals from other nationalities. The MoHRE emphasized that this guideline applied uniformly and was not targeted at any particular nationality.

MoHRE Clarification

Upon contacting the MoHRE for an official statement, a representative confirmed the diversity requirement. The MoHRE’s call center stated that 20% of a company’s workforce must be diversified. If a visa application is rejected on diversification grounds, the company should recruit someone of a different nationality for the same role.

Notably, the MoHRE spokesperson clarified that once the 20% diversity benchmark was met, companies could hire individuals from any nationality without facing diversification-related constraints.

Disproving Social Media Claims

Refuting claims circulating on social media regarding the cessation of visa issuances to Indians, Firosekhan, the managing director of Profound Business Service in Dubai, shared insights. He explained that obtaining a visa for an Indian applicant was successful at a company with a diverse workforce. Conversely, attempts to secure a visa for an applicant in a company predominantly consisting of Indian employees triggered the diversification message.

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Priority on Workplace Diversity

Abdul Gafoor, general manager of Al Mas Businessmen Service, highlighted the UAE’s objective of introducing diversity into the workplace. He noted that many companies in the UAE have a significant number of employees from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Consequently, companies with an existing majority of employees from these nationalities faced challenges in applying for new visas for individuals from the same countries.

As of the latest update, this diversification rule seems to apply primarily to mainland companies, with no reported issues in free zones. Companies operating in free zones continue to obtain work permits without hindrance.

In 2022, the MoHRE introduced a three-tier classification system, where achieving diversity in hiring became a criterion for companies to qualify for higher classifications. This classification made them eligible for discounts on work permits and transfer fees.


The UAE’s emphasis on achieving workplace diversity by allocating 20% of workforce quotas to different nationalities reflects a broader commitment to social and cultural diversity. This initiative aligns with the MoHRE’s goal of integrating diversity into the core values of private sector companies, fostering equal employment opportunities, and supporting Emiratisation.

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As the UAE continues to evolve its policies, companies are encouraged to embrace diversity in their hiring practices to align with the country’s vision for an inclusive and culturally diverse workforce.


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