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UAE Implements Nationwide Health Insurance Mandate for Private Sector and Domestic Workers

In a significant move aimed at enhancing the welfare of workers, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has introduced a sweeping decree requiring all private-sector employees and domestic staff to be covered by health insurance provided by their employers. Effective from the beginning of next year, this mandate marks a departure from the previous practice, which only obligated employers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to offer healthcare coverage to their workforce.

Previously, the absence of a unified national standard meant that health insurance provision varied across emirates, with workers in the Northern Emirates often left without mandatory coverage. However, with the new ruling, endorsed by the UAE Cabinet and announced by the office of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, a uniform framework for health insurance is set to be implemented nationwide.

Under the terms of the decree, private-sector employers and households hiring domestic workers will be required to bear the costs of health insurance for their employees when issuing or renewing visas. This comprehensive coverage extends to both registered private-sector employees and domestic workers currently lacking insurance.

The move represents a significant step towards safeguarding the well-being of workers across the UAE and ensuring equitable access to healthcare services. Neeraj Gupta, CEO of insurance comparison site, underscored the expansion of this requirement to encompass all employers throughout the UAE, signaling a notable shift in policy. While awaiting further clarification on certain aspects, such as the application of the mandate to existing visa holders, the decree is poised to come into effect from January 2025.

By instituting this nationwide health insurance mandate, the UAE demonstrates its commitment to prioritizing the health and welfare of its workforce, fostering a more inclusive and sustainable labor environment for all.