Dubai links health insurance scheme to visa renewal

From August Dubai Health Authority will link health insurance to visa renewal and issuance to ensure company compliance with the mandatory insurance scheme.

No visa will be issued or renewed if the applicant does not have a health insurance. The DHA has partnered with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) to link the mandatory health insurance with visas.

Companies falling in the third phase of the implementation will have until June 2016 to comply with regulations.

Companies with 1,000 or more employees had to cover their staff before the end of October 2014; those with 100 to 999 employees had until the end of July 2015 and firms with less than 100 employees have until the end of June 2016.

All spouses, dependents and domestic workers will also have to be covered by June 2016.

The aim is to ensure complete compliance so that expatriates in Dubai have access to essential health insurance. For Emiratis in Dubai, the DHA has introduced the Saada health insurance scheme. The Enaya health insurance scheme is already in place for government employees.

Stiff financial penalties, blacklisting and even non-renewal of trade licence are some of the punitive measures planned against companies that do not provide mandatory health insurance to employees.

Latest DHA figures show that employers can choose health insurance packages from 45 approved insurance companies that have Dubai Health Insurance permits.

To begin with, companies that do not comply will have to pay a fine per person, every month. The fine is aimed to be higher than the cost of a basic insurance package.

This shows how serious the DHA is to stop employers ignoring the rules, or as they recently found, buying fake insurance certificates.