Sharjah, one of the seven emirates that makes up the UAE, is to bar workers in certain jobs from applying for driving licenses, a newspaper has reported.
The ban will cover 86 categories of mainly menial jobs - including cooks, housemaids, gardeners, and tailors.
It was brought in by Sharjah's police traffic department to curb congestion and pollution, the report says.
The United Arab Emirates have one of the highest ratios of car ownership to population in the world.
The report, which appeared in the Gulf News daily newspaper, was linked to from Sharjah's official police website.
The impact of the ban on workers may be compounded by the poor state of public transport in the emirate.
Many, if not most, of those hit by the driving ban will be foreign workers in low-paid, unskilled jobs.
The report said driving licence applications would still be accepted from those with university degrees.
The UAE is heavily dependent on foreign labour to fill positions which locals have not traditionally filled.
Expatriates make up 84% of the United Arab Emirate's 5.6 million population, often sending remittances home to boost family income.
Sharjah's move comes in the wake of a decision by the other emirates to shelve a plan which would have banned all vehicles over 20 years old.
No official reason was given for the change of mind, but it is thought that the impact of the global economic downtown may have played into it.