Jan 07 2019

New Occupations List with Job Descriptions Introduced for Work Permit Applicants

United Arab Emirates

The situation

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has introduced a list of job descriptions as part of the new occupational classification scheme now used for new work permit applications in the mainland.

A closer look

Details of the new occupational scheme include:

  • List of job descriptions. The new occupational classification scheme is comprised of 726 job titles in nine professional categories, including managerial positions, specialists and clerical support staff. Each job title has a brief job description and a unique code from the International Standard Classification of Occupations. The former occupational classification scheme contained over 3,000 job titles.
  • Using the job description list. Employers must select a job title closest to the actual responsibilities of the employee, their professional qualifications and in accordance with the employer’s business activities. Brief job descriptions are now available as part of the list to assist with the job title selection.
  • Degree certificates. Each job title belongs to one of five levels of professional skills that determine whether the work permit applicant must provide a degree certificate. Most of the job titles on the list require the foreign national to provide a degree certificate, whereas they may not have had to under the former list.


  • Initial work permit applications. Foreign nationals can only apply for a work permit for job titles listed on the new occupational classification scheme.
  • Work permit renewals. Foreign nationals holding employment residence permits – which are granted after a work permit application is approved – with titles that are not on the new list do not need to revise their job title to renew an employment contract.  
  • More restrictive list. Employers may find it more difficult to select an appropriate job title under the new scheme since it contains fewer job titles than the previous scheme and because many of the job titles require a degree certification, whereas they may not have previously.
  • Labor market testing may increase. Due to the new job titles list, employers may have to select job titles which require labor market testing, which could result in longer processing times and a more difficult hiring process.


This change is part of a trend in the United Arab Emirates to promote the employment of skilled workers in the United Arab Emirates and to increase the transparency in the labor market.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to