UAE: Medical examination regulations for residents amended

The Council of Ministers has restricted some medical examination regulations for foreign nationals seeking residency in the UAE, and has relaxed other rules. Notably, pulmonary tuberculosis testing is now mandatory during the residency permit renewal process.

Expanded Rules

Rules that have been expanded or restricted include the following:

  • Tests for pulmonary tuberculosis will now be mandatory not only for new residence permit applicants, but also during the residency permit renewal process. Foreign nationals renewing their residency who test positive for old, active or drug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis may be granted a conditional health certificate and a one-year residency. Affected individuals will be required to undergo treatment as specified by the relevant authority in the UAE. Noncompliance with this rule will result in visa cancellation.
  • Viral hepatitis testing has been extended to workers at health care facilities.
  • More foreign workers will also be subject to hepatitis C testing, as opposed to hepatitis B only.

Relaxed Rules

Although individuals who test positive for HIV, viral hepatitis (for certain categories of workers), pulmonary tuberculosis and leprosy will, in general, be denied residency, certain restrictions applicable to these communicable diseases have been relaxed:

  • Foreign workers that are subject to viral hepatitis testing can be granted residency if the purpose of the residency has been changed to a category that does not require testing within two weeks of the release of medical results.
  • At the discretion of relevant authorities, residency may be granted to a new visa applicant with pulmonary tuberculosis if the candidate is a member of diplomatic or consular corps, is a relative of the UAE resident (spouse, parent or child - including children studying in the UAE under the sponsorship of a school) or a major investor, as determined by the appropriate business licensing authority.
  • Syphilis tests will be limited to foreign workers that also require testing for viral hepatitis for new visas and renewals.
  • Pregnancy tests will remain mandatory for all categories of domestic workers, and residency will be granted to a pregnant candidate upon the sponsor’s consent. 

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employees renewing their UAE residency permits should account for the additional time required to complete the tuberculosis test during their medical examination. Candidates with active, old or drug-resistant tuberculosis may be able to obtain UAE residency, subject to fulfilling additional requirements.  

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK