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No deportation for expats with hepatitis

Expatriates affected with the disease will now be treated

Gulf News

Dubai: New expatriate workers who are found to have Hepatitis B when they undergo their medical test will not be deported but will be given treatment, according to the Ministry of Health.

Resident expatriates will not be asked to undergo the test for Hepatitis B, while tests for Hepatitis C will no longer be needed under the new rules.

Those already in the UAE also will not have to undergo tests for TB. New arrivals will be tested only for pulmonary TB and those having the disease will not be granted a residence visa.

Dr Mahmoud Fikri, executive director of health policies, told the media that the new rules are to protect both the people and the society and make UAE a disease-free place to live.

Check-up changes

Earlier, Dr Hanif Hassan, Minister of Health, said the changes in the medical checkup system for expatriates will cover any gaps in the system, specially with the growing number of foreign workers coming into the country.

He said the ministry plans to increase the number of medical centres if needed.

Those tested positive for Hepatitis B will have to take three doses of vaccinations and show proof that they have taken them. Workers have to show the vaccination certificate at the time of renewal of the visa. The first dose of vaccination will cost Dh 50 and the two others are free of charge, the minister said.

The category of workers, which include nannies, housemaids, nursery and KG supervisors, beauticians and barbers, health club workers, and food handlers, will have to undergo tests for Hepatitis B and also for syphilis. Treatment will given for syphilis, Dr Fikri said and the person will not be deported.

Sponsor's choice

Women workers, specially maids, nannies and drivers, will be asked to undergo a pregnancy test.

In case the test is found positive, it is left to the sponsor to either allow her to work or send her back home.

All expatriates coming to the UAE for work, studying or residence have to undergo medical tests.

Tests for Aids, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is still mandatory for new arrivals or resident expatriates at the time of renewal of the resident visa.