No health insurance? No new visas... or renewals: Dubai Health Authority


To ensure that all employers and sponsors comply with their responsibilities, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has linked the health insurance scheme to visa issuance and renewal.

The DHA has partnered with General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) so that no new visa will be issued or an existing one renewed where the individual concerned does not have health insurance coverage in place at the time of visa application or renewal.

It is important to note that the enforcement system will become live on 1st August 2015, one day after the phase two implementation deadline which is July 31, 2015. Linking of visa renewal or issuance to the mandatory health insurance will not be applicable for phase three companies who have until June 2016 to comply with the regulations.

DHA says that the measure is aimed to ensure complete compliance so that resident expatriates in Dubai has access to essential health insurance at all times. For Dubai Nationals, the DHA has introduced the Saada health insurance scheme and the Enaya health insurance scheme is already in place for Government of Dubai employees.

In line with the implementation of the Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 passed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the DHA is encouraging all employers who sponsor individuals on a Dubai Residence Visa (including Free Zone established entities), to comply with the phased roll out.

The implementation is currently in its second phase,  companies with 100 to 999 employees have until  31st  July 2015 to provide their employees with health insurance.

Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the board of the DHA, said: "We are pleased to see that a lot of companies have already complied ahead of the timeline and we encourage all those who have not to do before the deadline. We anticipate that in phase two 600,000 people will be insured.

"At the time that the law was introduced in November 2013, the insured population in Dubai was 1.1 million. Since the phased introduction, until now, an additional 1.2 million people are insured, bringing the total insured population in Dubai to 2.3 million. This shows that employers are responding very well to the scheme."

In phase one, by October 31, 2014, all  employers who sponsor individuals on a Dubai Residence Visa (including Free Zone established entities) with more than 1,000 employees on their sponsorship were asked to provide health insurance for their workers.  Companies with 100 to 999 employees have until  the end of July 2015  as part of the phase two roll out of the scheme.

Companies below 100 employees have until end of June 2016 to cover their employees. All spouses, dependents  and domestic workers will also have to be covered by June 2016.

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