x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Health insurance, driving licences and money orders

Have a problem? Been treated unfairly? Our consumer advocate is on the case for you.

I recently joined a new company in Dubai, and the HR department has asked me to provide something they call a "certificate of credible coverage" so I can be covered by the health insurance scheme that they provide for their employees. I moved from the UK, where I used the National Health Service (NHS), so I didn't have private insurance. Someone suggested that I ask for a full printout of my medical records, but I am not sure that this is even possible. Do you know what I can do? Surely this must be common for expatriates from countries that don't tend to have private health insurance.

SV Dubai The NHS does not issue any such certificate - unfortunately, the document you are referring to is only issued by private insurance companies to ensure continuous coverage when moving from one insurance scheme to another. For larger group schemes, this is usually not required, as they are generally set up on a "medical claims disregarded" basis, but can be requested for smaller schemes or new individual plans. In these cases, there is a 24-month period during which pre-existing conditions are not covered. So, while you are not legally required to provide such a document, it could affect the terms of the cover you are offered.

When I first moved to the UAE, I was employed by a Dubai-based company. But last year I decided to set up my own company via a free zone in Ras al Khaimah. A friend has just pointed out to me that my Dubai driving licence is probably wrong, so can you tell me what I need to do to change it, or indeed, if I have to? JC Ras al Khaimah Because you are on a Ras al Khaimah visa, it's urgent that you obtain a driving licence for this emirate as soon as possible. Applications are made to the Ras al Khaimah Police Department. You need to provide your UK licence, two passport photographs, passport and copy, residence visa and copy and a fee of Dh250. As you have an investor visa, you need to contact the free zone authorities for a letter confirming your status. Had you been an employee, you would have had to provide your labour card and a letter from your employer. These letters should be in Arabic. Next, take these items to the Ras al Khaimah police, where they will administer a quick eye test. There is an application form, which is also available from the police station. As your original licence is in English, you do not need to obtain a translation, but for any that are not in English or Arabic, a formal Arabic translation is required. Transfers are available from a limited list of countries, similar to the other emirates.

I want to send money to someone in Turkey who does not have a bank account. Do you know of a safe way that this can be done? GE Sharjah As far as I am aware, you have two main choices. One is Western Union. The other is to use an international money order service, as operated by most post offices worldwide. Western Union has thousands of agents in every corner of the globe, so most people are not too far from an office. The money transfer system is straightforward. You need to complete the form confirming the amount to be sent, the full name of the person it is being sent to and provide identification (usually a passport). You will then be given your personal money transfer control number, which is the reference required by the recipient. The transfer is almost immediate, depending on opening hours. The person collecting the funds will need to provide the sender's first and last names, the place and country the monies were sent from, the amount, the money transfer control number and their own name, address and telephone number. Proof of identification will also help. They will then receive the cash in their home currency. Western Union agents will have information regarding the exchange rates offered on that day and charges are inclusive.

Emirates Post offers an international money order service available over the counter. The customer completes a money order form and pays the amount to be transferred. The money order is sent to the overseas destinations in US dollars (at a fixed rate of Dh3.683) and paid out to the addressee in their country's local currency, at any post office, usually on the same day. The recipient should provide proof of identity and the reference number given to the sender. There is a charge of Dh3 per transaction plus 0.5 per cent of the amount sent. While the charges are very competitive, this service is available to only 18 countries, although these tend to be places from which most expatriate workers originate.

I work for a company whose offices are in Abu Dhabi, but for various reasons I have chosen to live in Dubai. The HR officer has told me that as I have chosen to live in Dubai I will not be offered the company medical insurance scheme, as this only applies to Abu Dhabi residents. Can the company do this? RS Dubai The law states that anyone on an Abu Dhabi visa must be provided with medical insurance by their employer. Where you actually choose to live is irrelevant, as it is your visa that dictates residency. The law also states that medical cover must be provided for the employee's wife and family, including up to three children under the age of 18.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae