Medical insurance coverage of employees is compulsory for Dubai companies

I run a small company of a dozen or so employees, and as I have been travelling recently I still have not organised a medical insurance scheme for all of my staff. I heard that the deadline was changed so I have more time, but I don’t want to have any problems with the government when I deal with some visa renewals next month. Can you confirm please? JF, Dubai

The deadline for all companies with fewer than 100 staff to put Dubai Health Authority (DHA)-compliant medical insurance in place for all employees was June 30 and that has not been extended. The “extension” that was announced is for individual sponsors who need to arrange cover for dependents and domestic staff. But this is not a real extension, as these sponsors will simply not be fined if cover is not in place before the end of this year; they remain liable for any medical costs incurred. There is no extension period for companies, so any employer with employees on Dubai residency visas without suitable cover in place is now breaking the law. There are significant fines that can be levied against any company that has not arranged appropriate medical insurance. The fines are Dh500 per person, per month or part of a month. To clarify, a company with 12 employees that does not put suitable cover in place until some time in August 2016 could be fined a total of Dh12,000. It is estimated that up to 20 per cent of companies have still to arrange proper medical insurance, despite the time that was allowed to do so, and these are likely to be fined and will also not be able to arrange new visas or to renew existing ones until such time as DHA-compliant cover is in place.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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