Residency and work visa applicants wait for their turn at the Satwa medical fitness centre for their medical tests. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

Dubai: UAE Sunday announced that expatriate workers coming to work in the Emirates will have to first get their medical tests done in their home countries.

But to make sure that job-seekers do not try to beat the system and show fake medical test results, the new expatriates will also be re-tested here to see the test results are in order.

The new system was announced Sunday after a Ministerial Service Council's meeting was chaired by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. The Council has instructed the Ministry of Health to issue the necessary bylaws to implement the new system.

No Ministry of Health or Dubai Health Authority official was available for comment on the new system at the time of going to print.

The Health Council had been debating this issue of tests for migrant workers for some time as the check-up in the home countries would stop many workers from developing countries bringing in deadly communicable diseases into the country.

Anyone coming to work and live in the UAE has to get a check-up done to see if he or she is free from HIV/Aids, syphilis and pulmonary TB. A pregnancy test has to be done for someone coming to work as a housemaid or a nanny.

Medical experts said the new system will ease the situation at the designated medical clinics which usually have long lines of people waiting for hours to get the tests done. In Dubai, the municipal medical test clinic was closed recently and the huge spill-over is frequently seen at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) clinics, specially in Deira and Satwa. The DHA made a surprise visit to the Satwa clinic after Gulf News reported a near breakdown in services recently.

The UAE also has to bear huge expenses for those coming in with communicable diseases as they are first treated and then deported.

It was recently decided to scrap tests for hepatitis C.

Besides nannies and housemaids, the other categories of new workers who are required to test for hepatitis B and HIV/Aids are kindergarten school employees, employees at barber shops, health clubs and restaurants. Those found infected will be deported.

— with inputs from WAM