Update: The Executive Regulations of Law No. 22 of 2021 mandating foreign nationals to have private medical insurance coverage when visiting, residing or working in Qatar were published in the Official Gazette on 1 September 2022, and entered into effect on 2 September 2022. More information on this update is below.
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.
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 Qatari insurers, licensed by the Qatar Central Bank and registered with the Ministry of Public Health. Exceptions apply to visitors who hold a global health insurance policy which includes Qatar so long as it covers basic healthcare including emergencies and accidents.
Employers will be required to provide their foreign workers in Qatar, as well as the dependents living with them (spouses and up to three children under the age of 18), 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 compulsory insurance coverage.
Employers should take steps to comply with the new law and its Executive Regulations, by ensuring 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.
Current insurance policies issued by unlicensed international insurers may remain in effect until expiry. Additional details on the various healthcare plans and their costs are still awaited