Dubai, August 20 : Expatriate workers, suffering from diseases like Hepatitis B or C, may get a work permit in the United Arab Emirate as the government has planned to overhaul the residency medical law.
’’Tests for hepatitis B will only apply to six specified professions. The government will scrap all mandatory testing for hepatitis C,’’ the country’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
However, testing for HIV/AIDS would remain in place and any expatriate who tests positive would be deported.
According to the ministry, pregnancy tests for some categories of women workers will be required under a revised set of medical fitness rules for granting work and residency permits to expatriates in the country.
The date for enforcement of the changes would be decided in due course while the fee structure remains unchanged, health officials announced yesterday.
Examinations for both forms of hepatitis, a blood disease, previously applied to every expatriate wanting to live and work in the Emirates.
Executive Director of Health Ministry, Dr Mahmoud Fikri said the changes were made after consulting a number of medical officials.
The management of some communicable diseases has come under fire in recent years from organisations such as the United Nations, as officials expressed concern about government policies driving illnesses such as TB underground because of the threat of deportation.
"Members from the Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority-Abu Dhabi and the Ministry of Health were involved in the technical committee," he said.
"This is the criteria. It is the same as other Gulf countries and will apply everywhere," Senior officials in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have spoken openly about their desire to amend the residency medical law, particularly those articles governing TB.
Dr Ali al Marzouqi from Dubai Health Authority, which head of public health and safety, had said two months ago that the Federal law governing deportation of TB patients was outdated.
The six categories of expatriates workers affected with the change in the law include nannies; housemaids; nursery and kindergarten supervisors; workers in hairdressing saloons, beauty centres and health clubs; anyone working in processing or food-control authorities; and those employed in cafes and restaurants.