People queue at a typing centre for processing their papers for medical fitness certificate. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Most typing centres in Dubai are no longer accepting applications after new standards were introduced by authorities.

Applicants are being told by the typing centres to visit Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Medical Fitness Centres for filling up application forms for medical fitness tests, a ritual every expatriate has to go through every two years.

On Sunday, several typing centres said they are no longer able to process applications. A number of them said only those centres who meet “new DHA requirements” can continue the service.

The new requirements, they said, include a new electronic system, a deposit amount, and a minimum space requirement, among others. 

There has been no public announcement directing applicants to visit DHA centres rather than typing centres.

An Indian medical fitness applicant said: “This is unacceptable. The DHA should have made it clear which typing centres can still process applications. The holiday season is round the corner and people have to complete their formalities before leaving. Not knowing where to go just wastes applicants’ time and energy.”

He added that at least two typing centres told him they cannot take his application as they have stopped the service. On Sunday, Gulf News visited several typing centres who said they no longer offer the service.

A typist in Karama said: “A few days ago we learnt that only certain typing centres who meet new DHA criteria can continue to accept applications. We don’t know who they are, so we’ve been telling applicants to go to DHA Medical Fitness Centres. But there is going to be a big rush there now and typing charges there are high.”

Expats are required to pass screening for certain infectious diseases before they can be issued a UAE residency visa. The application for taking the Medical Fitness tests are prepared by authorised typing centres. Applicants can also have the paperwork done at counters within DHA Medical Fitness Centres.

Dr Maisa Al Bustani, director of Medical Fitness at DHA, said the change in the medical fitness rules was being carried out to provide high quality of services to all Dubai residents.

In a statement to Gulf News, she said: “The DHA is in the process of streamlining medical fitness services to enhance the customer’s journey and make these typing centres a one-stop-shop for the them. So far we have selected 25 typing centres both located within medical fitness centres of DHA and external ones and are ensuring that they operate with best practices like a business centre.

“In the first phase of the roll out we are including centres which have employees above 50. In the second phase centres with employees below 50 will be included. These centres are required to follow quality standards set by DHA to ensure customer happiness and professional service. We are carrying the roll out in phases to make sure the system is upgraded smoothly. Right now all centres in corporate and free zones operate according to the old system but by end of 2018 they will be included in the upgrade.”

Dr Al Bustani said: “We will also make sure that all these centres are geographically distributed evenly across Dubai to ensure that residents are able to go to a centre that is in proximity to his/her home.”

Dr Al Bustani also added: "The DHA will reopen the registration process soon and will certify more centre. We will announce within a couple of days the authorised centres that customers may approach."