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UAE private businesses and firms with more than 100 employees must hire an Emirati Public Relations Officer (PRO) or the Ministry of Labour will no longer deal with their queries, it was reported on Tuesday.

Under UAE labour regulations, all private companies with more than 100 companies must hire an Emirati PRO, a ministry call centre assistant confirmed.

A report by Arabic daily Emirat Al Youm said the Ministry of Labour will now refuse to process any transactions submitted from private companies who do not comply with the regulation and do not have an Emirati PRO.

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The report added that a firm with over 5,700 was refused assistance last week as it did not have an Emirati PRO.

However, a spokesperson from consultancy firm confirmed the regulation does not apply to companies based inside UAE free zones.

As the proportion of Emiratis working in the UAE's federal government sector increased to 53 percent in 2011, the move is part of the government’s ongoing Emiratisation drive to increase the number of locals employed in the private sector.

Despite efforts, a January 2012 survey conducted by Informa Exhibitions found the public sector still remains the most preferred workplace option for UAE nationals, with 90 percent of respondents indicating a preference to work in government organisations.