Abu Dhabi to cut benefit payments for unemployed Emiratis who are able to work

The UAE wants to avoid a society dependent on social welfare, officials say

Unemployed Emiratis in Abu Dhabi will no longer receive governmental financial support unless they prove they are unable to work, according to a top government official.

Nationals will be given a choice of three employment offers or risk losing their financial benefits.

The move is part of a government plan to ensure all citisens contribute to society, Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s new Department of Community Development, told The National.

He said the UAE wants to avoid a society dependent on social welfare.

However, the rule excludes stay-at-home mothers or those unable to work due to medical reasons.

While financial benefits for unemployed Emiratis varies, some earn between AED6,000-8,000 a month. The minimum wage for Emiratis set by the Abu Dhabi government stands at AED10,000.

The benefit payments are meant to act as safety nets for those who are unable to work, but Dr Al Khaili said some have been taking advantage of the benefits.

He added that it is time UAE nationals are active and preparing for a post-oil era.

In April, the UAE Cabinet approved as much as AED11 billion in social assistance for low-income groups over the next three years.

Almost 39,000 Emiratis in Abu Dhabi received welfare payments in 2013, up from about 25,300 in 2011. The total value of aid had also grown from AED665 million to AED806m during the same time.

New data is to be collected at the end of March 2019 to provide accurate numbers.


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