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Dubai Health Insurance Law and the Visa Application System

The Dubai Health Authority Health Funding Department (HFD) has partnered with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners affairs (GDFA) in order to start applying the new regulations to the visa application system

Posted on Jul 08, 2015 by Alex Nellist

Compliance Update – Dubai Health Authority (DHA)

The signing of the Dubai Health Insurance Law in November 2013 ensures health insurance as a compulsory benefit is in place for all employees residing in the Emirate of Dubai.

The aim of these new measures is to ensure that all expatriates in Dubai have the necessary access to essential health insurance. Universal access to health care contributes to building a robust health system that is flexible and financially sustainable. Effective from August 1st 2015, the Dubai Health Authority has implemented an enforcement system to ensure compliance of this law.

How will the DHA enforce compliance of the law?

To ensure all residents in Dubai have adequate medical insurance in place, the Dubai Health Authority Health Funding Department (HFD) has partnered with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners affairs (GDFA). The GDFA, whose vision is to bring the UAE into being one of the safest and most secure countries in the world, is responsible for all immigration related matters for the Emirates, such as issuing entry permits and residence visas.

In the GDRFA system, employers as visa sponsors will be divided into 3 categories

Phase 1:           31 October 2014 for all companies employing more than 1000 employees

Phase 2:           31 July 2015 for all companies employing more than 100 and up to 1000 employees

Phase 3:           30 June 2016 for companies employing up to and including 100 employees and all spouses, dependents and domestic staff 

Employers belonging to phase 3 need to comply as of 30th July 2016 but please note this is a deadline meaning that a compliant health insurance should be put in place prior to this date. Also, should any company grow in size before the deadlines mentioned above and reach a number of employees beyond 100, the GDRFA system will automatically reclassify the employer as belonging to phase 2, with the deadline to comply with laws before the 31st July 2015.

How will the GDRFA know if the company has an insurance plan in place for their employees? 

The GDRFA will have access to the HFD’s electronic Member Register, which is populated by the insurance companies and includes information about insurance details for each individual employee. If the member cannot be found in the electronic Member Register, the visa application will be rejected.  The electronic Member Register is currently being updated by the insurance companies in a timely manner, and the new process will ensure a smooth flow of information among all parties involved.

What does this mean for our Corporate clients based in Dubai?

As of 1st August 2015, no new visas will be released or renewed if an employer has failed to provide or implement adequate medical insurance cover for all employees.

Penalties

For companies that do not adhere to the new laws and fail to provide mandatory health insurance for employees, a set of punitive measures have been planned. Dr Al Yousuf, director of Health Funding at the DHA said:

"To begin with, companies that do not comply will have to pay a fine per person, every month." He followed up with the possibility of blacklisting or the non-renewal of trade licenses as some potential measures, "The fine will definitely be higher than the basic insurance package. Eventually, we will block the renewal of existing visas, blacklist, or even block trade license renewal. Our sole objective is to get employees the health benefits that will accrue to them through the mandatory cover."

What do our Corporate clients need to do next?

The Member Register is populated by the insurance company based upon data supplied by the employer. It is therefore essential that employers supply, in a timely manner, all data requested by the insurer.

The aim of these new measures is to ensure that expatriates in Dubai have the necesaary access to essential health insurance. Universal access to health care contributes to building a robust health system that is flexible and financially sustainable. On behalf of the Health Insurance Company that your group medical scheme is insured with, Pacific Prime will facilitate the collection of employee data that is required for the HFD’s electronic Member Register. We will ask for you to update the membership census that we already hold on file and to provide any additional employee documentation that is required. This will happen over the coming weeks.

We hope this communication is informative and helpful for our customers with regards to the new laws pertaining to health insurance in Dubai.

For more information on this topic, or for any advice on acquiring corporate health insurance in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE, please contact us here.

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