UAE relaxes expat medical tests


UAE authorities have relaxed the amount of medical tests expat workers are required to take when they seek the right to work in the country.

The UAE Ministry of Health last week announced that medical regulations were in need of an overhaul. The new system will scrap the need for hepatitis C tests, and only workers in certain professions, including food industry, childcare, and healthcare, will need to be tested for hepatitis B. HIV/AIDS tests remain though, and anyone testing positive for the virus/disease will be refused entry to the Emirates.

Another aspect of the current laws to be scrapped is the need for expats renewing their visas to also undergo a second wave of tests.

Dr Sneh Khemka, medical director for Bupa International, spoke about the changes: “The UAE’s rules governing health tests for foreign workers have traditionally been very strict, as they’ve tried to protect a relatively new state from incoming disease. The policy, however, has caused many problems, as expats, particularly manual workers from South Asia, tend to hide diseases. This means that they become more unwell, and disease can spread. Now, disease will be treated more openly, and cured quicker - a better health outcome for all concerned.”

It is thought the changes are being made to encourage more foreign workers into working in the Gulf.