Stock Kuwait expats people
People wearing protective masks wait to board a bus at a station in Kuwait City Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries last year banned 205,000 foreigners from entering their territories after they failed medical fitness checks, according to a report by the GCC health council.

The GCC expatriate labour screening programme registered three million people through the new electronic intra-GCC countries link to check expats.

The medical fitness checks have been in place in the GCC countries since 1995.

However, from 2002 foreigners seeking residence visas to a GCC member state, from seven Asian countries, were asked to produce a health fitness certificate, attested by an authorised agency in their countries.

To weed out unscrupulous agents, the GCC Medical Committee has formed the GCC Approved Medical Centres’ Association (GAMCA) in the seven countries.

India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan are the countries whose nationals must produce an attested medical fitness certificate before coming to any of the six GCC member countries.

GAMCA is a mandatory medical examination that expatriates have to pass before travelling to GCC countries for employment, applying for residence visa or higher studies. It has to be done from the medical centres assigned by GAMCA. The medical fitness report of each individual is generated by the medical centres. They can travel to your destination country after receiving a positive GAMCA medical report from authorised gamca centres.

Expatraites are re-examined when they arrive in the GCC countries and those found unfit are banned from entering.

The report indicated that 17 per cent to 20 per cent of medically unfit expatriates entered the GCC countries before introducing the screening programme.

The percentage gradually decreased to approximately 2 per cent after the introduction of the immigrant screening programme, and then to 0.5 per cent after implementing the electronic link system and the introduction of the Bar code by some embassies and consulates of the GCC countries, has facilitated their tasks in reducing the falsification of medical reports.