A new decree in the UAE obligates migrant workers to pay a 500 Dhs (136$) annual fee for renewing or issuing health cards with extra 300 to obtain lost cards. The new decision will be applied in October. Migrants who do not obtain those cards will pay double the rates when using health services.
For many migrants, the health cards are inordinately expensive and violate their right to health care. Though employers in Abu Dhabi are obliged to provide health insurance to their workers, this is not an enforced Emirate-wide policy. In fact, migrants in Dubai are required to pay 60 Dhs for a note from the Dubai Health Authority to validate their sick leaves.
With the UAE having the Middle East’s highest per capita medical spending, health services are often too expensive for migrants to afford. A study found that prices of medicine in the UAE are 23 times higher than the rates recommended by the World Health Organization. According to the UAE's news agency, the Emirates promised to the cut prices of more than 6600 types of medicines by a 40% rate.