The current mandate in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai requiring private employers to provide health insurance coverage to their foreign employees and domestic workers will extend to the remainder emirates of the UAE from 1 January 2025.

Key details

The UAE cabinet’s announcement approving the health insurance mandate in the remaining five emirates ofSharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, and Fujairah, did not include details of the new required coverage. Forthcoming implementing regulations are expected to provide more clarity on many elements, including:

  • Cost sharing
  • Basic minimum benefits
  • Potential for an implementation timeline based on employer size, as occurred in Dubai
  • Extension of health insurance coverage to employees’ dependents (currently required in Abu Dhabi but not Dubai)
  • Potential penalties for non-compliance, etc.

As in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it is expected that proof of health insurance coverage will be required when foreign employees apply for or renew their work visas and residency permits.  As a result, it is likely that significant information gathering and administrative processes will be necessary to meet local requirements for the remaining five emirates.

Once more details are released, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) will be carrying out awareness initiatives regarding the coverage and policies of the mandatory health insurance.

Next steps

The introduction of mandatory health insurance follows a recent trend in the Middle East, where several countries including Bahrain have introduced similar legislation.

Employers who do not already offer supplemental healthcare benefits should begin budgeting for additional health insurance costs and planning for the additional and substantial administrative work surrounding anticipated information and reporting requirements as well as new visa requirements.

The Global People Solutions compliance team will share updates as more details become available on this upcoming mandate.