The Dubai Health Insurance Law introduced a compulsory health
insurance scheme, which was rolled out over a number of years.
Previous Clyde & Co articles on the topic can be found here and here.
Under the Dubai Health Insurance Law, all employers in Dubai
should have had health insurance in place for all employees since
30 June 2016, the official final deadline by which to be compliant.
However, those employers who remained non-compliant have benefited
from a 6-month grace period, originally intended to give individual
sponsors more time. During this grace period the Dubai Health
Authority (DHA) took the decision to suspend the issuing of fines
and imposing of visa sanctions on both employers and individual
Applicable fines and sanctions
However, the DHA's supportive rather than punitive approach
is set to end on 31 December 2016, with Dr Haidar Al Yousuf,
Director of Health Funding at the DHA, recently insisting that, by
the end of this year, fines will become active. This confirmation
coincided with the publication of DHA General Circular No.8 of 2016
(GC 06/2015) in late November 2016, concerning mandatory member
information and the final deadline. The circular provides that
those who remain non-compliant will face severe visa issuance
complications, with no existing visas being renewed and no new
visas being issued where the individual concerned does not have
health insurance coverage in place at the time of visa stamping or
renewal. Additionally, financial penalties will also be applied in
accordance with Executive Council Resolution No. 7 of 2016. An
employer shall receive a penalty of AED 500 per month for every
employee who remains without insurance. As well as the fines from
DHA, any delay in providing mandatory health insurance may cause an
employer to incur fines from the General Directorate of Residency
and Foreigners Affairs Dubai (GDRFA).
Question marks over how effective any attempts to track and
punish those employers who remain non-compliant appear to have been
quelled following the announcement of a partnership between the
DHA's Health Funding Department (HFD) and the General
Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The
partnerships mandate is to ensure compliance with the Law and is
supported by a real-time system linking the DHA's Members
Register directly with the GDRFA. The system will rely on data
provided by employers and individual sponsors via their health
insurance companies. The system has been designed to detect any
gaps in a company's insurance as of 1 January 2017, meaning
fines and sanctions will be applied retrospectively. GC 06/2015
provides the following example:
"an individual's Health
Insurance policy expires on February 1st 2017, and their visa
expires on January 1st 2017, when they renew the visa during the
month of January 2017 it will be renewed without any issues if
however the individual does not maintain constant health insurance
coverage, upon the next visa renewal, the system will track and log
the gap in insurance. I.e. if they were uninsured for two months
between visa renewals, the time of renewal they will have incurred
a fine of AED 1,000 (AED 500 per month)."
The submission of mandatory information
GC 06/2015 also informs employers of their responsibility to
provide the required mandatory information concerning the
individuals being insured and urges employers to ensure that the
information they provide to the DHA is both complete and accurate.
Any employer failing to provide the required information or who is
found to be supplying false and/or inaccurate information could
face complications when applying for the issuance of new visas or
the renewal of existing visas as well as financial penalties.
The enforcement of fines and the introduction of a real-time
system able to detect gaps in a company's (or sponsor's)
insurance coverage is the final step in the implementation of
Dubai's health insurance coverage. Any employer or sponsor who
has not yet complied with the requirements to provide health
insurance coverage should seek to rectify this position before 2016
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