Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 29 May 2020

'Does my health insurance stay valid for 30 days after my visa is cancelled?'

The Dubai employee is leaving the UAE and fears there may be a delay securing a flight before they can exit the country

The Dubai resident's employer says it will cancel the health policy immediately. Getty Images
The Dubai resident's employer says it will cancel the health policy immediately. Getty Images

I am on a Dubai employment visa which is going to be cancelled shortly. Does my health insurance remain valid for 30 days after my visa is cancelled? I will have a delay getting a flight out of the country, due to the current situation, and I need to prove this to my employer. He says he will cancel the policy immediately. AH, Dubai

For employees on a Dubai visa their employer must provide medical insurance in accordance with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) rules. The DHA issues regular guidance and updates and employers are expected to keep up to date with any changes, as should insurance companies and brokers.

On November 29 2017, DHA issued General Circular Number 5 of 2017 (GC 05/2017), which states: “As stated in ‘General Circular 09 of 2016’ pertaining to individual refunds, we had stated that individually sponsored domestic helpers must be covered for 30 days after the cancellation of the policy. Going forward, the same requirement will apply to all members insured under group policies. Therefore, for a group policy with a January 1 2017 inception date, and a December 31 2017 expiry date, if a deletion request was sent on June 1 2017, the member would be covered until July 1 2017. However if a deletion request was received on December 15 2017, the member would only be covered until expiry of the policy. The cover required post deletion date must at minimum cover emergency expenses. It is encouraged, however, to maintain the existing benefits, terms and conditions.” This announcement has not been rescinded so it is still valid and applies to all employees on Dubai residency visas.

It is therefore clear that an employer must provide cover for up to 30 days after visa cancellation unless the scheme's annual renewal date falls in this period or the individual is insured under a new scheme. Note that coverage can be provided on a minimal basis and for emergencies only but it is rarely feasible for a company to arrange new terms for one individual for such a short period. The practical solution is to continue with the same level of cover in the main scheme. In this situation, AH’s employer is obliged to continue to provide some health insurance for 30 days after the visa is cancelled.

My company falls under Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and I am on a Dubai visa. As a cost cutting exercise, my company has identified some positions as redundant and I have been terminated. I am on a limited contract and I have a notice period of three months as per my labour contract. What am I entitled to receive in the form of compensation, gratuity pay and annual leave? I have completed seven-and-a-half months with the company. FD, Dubai

DMCC is a free zone, but their rules state that employment “is governed by Federal Law No 8 of 1980 … UAE Labour Law” so it adopts the provisions of UAE Labour Law and benefits are calculated in accordance with the standard mainland provisions.

If someone is made redundant, they must be paid in full throughout the stated notice period, which is three months in this case, and their visa must remain valid for this period too. If someone is on a limited contract, they have additional protection in law and should be compensated for the employer breaking the contract.

DMCC guidance is identical with Article 116 of Labour Law and clause 44 of DMCC guidance states: “The employee will owe the employer, as compensation, an amount equal to half a month’s remuneration for three months or for the period until the end of the contract, whichever is shorter”.

Additional entitlement is covered in clause 43 of DMCC guidance and this says: “Any employee under a limited contract that is terminated by the employer prior to expiry date … including during the probation period, will be eligible for: encashment of accrued but un-used annual leave, if the employee has worked for more than six months; end-of-service benefit, if the employee has worked for one or more year … and potentially, a one-way repatriation ticket to the employee’s country of origin.” In FD’s case, she is not eligible for a gratuity as she will have been employed for less than a full year at the time her service ends. However, she should receive payment for any days of annual leave accrued up to her final day but not taken.

The rules for a repatriation flight are identical with UAE Labour Law Article 131 and so DMCC guidance 56 states: “Expenses for repatriation of a non-UAE national employee (to their place of origin or other agreed place) are covered by the employer. However, if the employee takes up employment somewhere else in the UAE, repatriation expenses upon termination of their service shall be paid by the new employer.” This employer only needs to cover the cost of a flight if FD leaves the UAE.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: May 15, 2020 05:08 PM

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