Dubai medical tourism packages to come with visa, hotel, leisure…

Providers of medical tourism packages will be required to acquire membership of Medical Tourism Club

Come September, and people visiting Dubai seeking medical care will be met with more than a treatment on a hospital bed: visa, hotel accommodation as well as recreational activities for families who accompany patients will be included in the medical tourism package.

medical-tourismHospitals and healthcare facilities that wish to provide services to medical tourists will be required to provide all-inclusive medical tourism packages and acquire membership from the Medical Tourism Club from September 1, 2014, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said.

The initiative is aimed to streamline medical tourism for the emirate by including all stakeholders in the process. “All relevant stakeholders including immigration, aviation industry, hospitality sector, and public and private hospitals will work together to ensure medical tourists receive both excellent treatment as well as world-class hospitality that Dubai is synonymous with,” explained Ramadan Ibrahim, Director of Medical Regulation and of the Medical Tourism Programme.

Under the scheme, providers of medical tourism packages will be required to acquire membership of the Medical Tourism Club, a non-profit club subjected to eligibility of the provider.

“For example, they need to provide us details of the specialties they would like to promote, details of the doctors who provide those specialties, the number of procedures they have conducted, etc,” said Ibrahim.

“In addition to medical facilities, we will also evaluate hospitals on the basis of the comfort and ease they provide patients. This includes checking whether they have translators, chauffer services etc., which will all be part of the medical tourism package.

Based on the score, which is to be evaluated by the DHA, providers will receive platinum, gold or silver membership. “The first package will be launched in September this year and will be wellness and preventive services package,” adds Ibrahim.

Priority areas of medical tourism services in the UAE are orthopaedic and sports medicine, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dental procedures, dermatology and preventive health check-ups.

In a business that globally turns around $30 billion annually and is expected to double by end-2020, Dubai aims to utilise its position as a leading tourism destination and extend it to include an offering of its medical services.

A Dubai Medical tourism website will be launched by the last quarter of 2014 and will include all details and hyperlinks of the approved members.

Courtesy: Emirates 24/7

Emirates ID card must for bank loans, other service

Central Bank circular to make ID card mandatory document for all transactions

The Emirates Identity Card could soon be one of the must-have documents when applying for a loan or to get other bank services and facilities as well.

According to a report in Emarat Al Youm, citing, a UAE Central Bank circular, all banks and finance companies and houses operating in the country are to request the Emiartes ID of a customer applying for banking facilities.

The report says the circular, issued by Saeed Al Hamiz, Assistant Governor, UAE Central Bank, specifies loans will not be granted without the national identity card.

The newspaper adds that the circular was issued at the request of Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs and Chairman of the Federal Credit Bureau.

A central bank official who asked not to be named said that under this circular individuals will not be able to get any loans or financing without providing the national ID card.

The official clarified that the customer’s passport is no longer sufficient to accomplish bank transactions.

The Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) has tied up with a local bank to experiment the use of ID cards in banking transactions.

According to a report in the Arabic daily ‘Emarat Al Youm’, the authority helped a client open an account with a local bank.

The transaction was quicker by at least 20 minutes, said Dr Ali Mohammed Al Khouri, General-Director, Eida.

The bank staff was able to quickly download all necessary client information from his ID card, thereby saving time. The process is also safer and more accurate, he added.

It is now up to the UAE Central Bank and individual banks to decide how to use ID cards to enhance their services, he said.

Dr Al Khouri said ID cards could also be used to deposit and withdraw money in future.

At present, Eida is also in the process of linking up with all government institutions.

Free zone firms need DED licence to operate in Dubai

Alternatively they can open branches in compliance with Law No. 13 of 2011

No free zone company across the UAE can conduct business within Dubai unless it has a Department of Economic Development (DED) licence or opens a branch in Dubai in accordance with the conditions stated in Law No. 13 of 2011 on business registration and licensing in the Emirate, DED restated on Monday.

Issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Law No.13 of 2011 is meant to enable Free Zone companies to open branches in Dubai while maintaining their presence in the Free Zone.
“Under no circumstances can a free zone company in Dubai operate outside its jurisdiction unless it has a branch licensed by DED. The same applies to companies in any free zone in the UAE. Alternatively, such companies may appoint an intermediary to sell their products or services in Dubai, but the intermediary should have a DED licence,” said Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, Chief Executive Officer of Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) Sector, DED.
Al Saadi issued the clarification after reports in certain online media and subsequent enquiries on a Free Zone company in another emirate claiming to be a “virtual free zone” providing cheaper means of enabling “international entrepreneurs operate their businesses from a home or office anywhere in the UAE”.
“Recently, we have been receiving complaints from various Free Zone companies, most of them operating outside Dubai, that their licensors had promised they can do business in Dubai under the free zone license. We have clarified to them that there is an established route to doing business in Dubai,” Al Saadi stated.
“Through Law No.13 of 2011, Dubai has acknowledged the role of Free Zone companies in economic activity in the UAE and the leadership wants to allow such companies to contribute further to overall development. DED’s role is to enable businesses that choose Dubai as their base to benefit from a competitive environment and best practices.”
A free zone company can operate a branch in Dubai as long as it is active within the free zone but any termination of the Free Zone activity will reflect in the Dubai license as well.
The Law No. 13 also allows free zone companies that have no local partners to open branches in Dubai, provided such branch has a local service agent on board. A local service agent is a UAE national or UAE company who will sponsor employees for the Dubai branch of a free zone company at the Ministry of Labour. The local service agent will have no rights of voting or decision-making in the company.

Women need to exit country for job visa

From: Najeem Ahmed

Women on relatives’ sponsorship have to leave the country before they can transfer their visa to employment, according to officials from the residency department.

Officials said that any woman sponsored by her relatives and wishing to transfer her sponsorship to employment visa must leave the country in order to be able to be issued the employment visa.

The officials said that if a woman is on her husband, father, brother or any relative’s sponsorship and she want to transfer her it to her employer, the relative must obtain an air ticket in her name and bring it to the residency department in order to cancel her visa.

The officials explained that the woman will be given seven days in order to leave the country.

“When the employment visa from the ministry of labour is ready then the woman can enter the country again,” the officials said.

Previously, the move was only applicable to expatriates who entered the country on visit visas and wished to change it to employment. Adjusting the legal status for everyone used to cost Dh500, without the need to leave the country.

The official said that this facility does not exist any more and all who are on their relatives’ sponsorship must leave the country to obtain employment visa.
People questioned the move and said that this will make their life difficult.

“Why does a mother or wife or daughter living in the country on residence visa have to exit the country in order to obtain employment visa? What is the use of this move,” asked Raji from India.

Les George from Philippines said his wife has been on his sponsorship for almost 10 years and now she has found a job but he was surprised when asked by the residency officers that he should bring an air ticket for her in order to cancel her visa and that she should leave the country in order to transfer her sponsorship to the employer.

“I visited the residency department today with the hope of cancelling my wife’s residence Visa, so that she can transfer to her company sponsorship. My wife, Mary, works as a Store Manager for a private company here,” he said.

“I was advised by residency officers to first pay all outstanding fines that may have incurred due to her overstaying,” he said.

“As per the instructions I visited the bank and made the necessary payments,” he said.
He added that following this he approached the officer at the counter, who had earlier assured that should he clear all outstanding fines, and acquire a valid Transfer Work Permit from the Ministry of Labour, he could transfer his wife’s visa and that she does not need to leave the country for visa change.

“However, today I was told that this was not possible and that she will have to leave the country in order for her visa to be cancelled, and that only after this, could her company apply for a new Visa despite the fact the residency staff themselves having told me last week to obtain for her the transfer work permit from ministry of labour,” he said.

Les said that despite the fact that he is worried about his wife who has to go to Kish Island for visa change, he has no choice but to send her.

“When I checked with the officer why she should exit and come despite the fact that he himself said to me last week that there was no need for her to exit, the officer said ‘thats was last week and we are in another week’,” he said.

“It takes us time to obtain the permit from labour upon the instruction of the residency officers and that increases my wife’s fine after I had paid and cleared the fine. If the officer told me from the beginning that this was not possible, he would saved his time, our time and money,” he said.

In 2004, the UAE government took decision to allow expatriates to amend their visa statu following a Kish Airline Fokker-50 crash as it was approaching Sharjah Airport on February 10. The plane was carrying people who had flown from the UAE to Kish Island so that they could change their visa status. Forty-eight people were killed in the crash, with just three survivors. After the crash, the UAE amended its visa rules, so that people in the country could change a visit visa to an employment visa by paying a Dh500 fee.

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