Qatar

The government of Qatar recently passed a new law mandating that all foreign nationals visiting, residing or working in Qatar have private medical insurance coverage for the entire duration of their stay.

 Law No. 22 of 2021 is expected to enter into effect on 4 May 2022.

Background

Currently, foreign nationals and visa sponsors are not required to provide proof of private medical insurance coverage when applying for a resident or a tourist visa in Qatar. They can enroll in a public and/or private health insurance scheme after obtaining their visa. Only foreign nationals age 60 and over are currently required to provide proof of private medical insurance coverage when applying for a work visa in Qatar.

Effective May 2022, all visas will require such proof of Qatari-sanctioned medical insurance regardless of the foreign national’s age.

Key details

When applying or renewing their visa in Qatar, all foreign nationals and visa sponsors will be required to provide proof of private health insurance coverage.

Qualifying private health insurance must:

  • Provide a basic level of coverage
  • Be arranged with locally licensed Qatari insurers

Employers will be required to provide their foreign workers in Qatar, as well as the dependents living with them, with private health insurance. The private health insurance cost must be covered by the employer, subject to deductibles and copayments when applicable.

Failure to comply is subject to penalties (QAR 30,000 per worker without medical insurance) and denial to obtain or renew their foreign worker’s visa. The penalties are doubled for repeat violations. In addition, employers will be liable for the cost of healthcare services provided if they fail to maintain the compulsory insurance coverage.

Next steps

Employers should monitor the implementation timeline of the new law, ensure that all their foreign workers and their dependents have compliant health insurance coverage as part of the visa process, and update their hiring policies accordingly.

Many details of the new law are still being determined and forthcoming regulations are expected to be published in the coming months to clarify, among other things, the scope of coverage of the health insurance (including minimum coverage required and exemptions), the registration of insurance companies, insurance brokers, service providers, etc.