Wednesday 9th March 2011

Expats living in Abu Dhabi are still being required to undergo tests for TB when renewing their residency visas, despite the fact that it is no longer required by federal law.

Despite the federal regulations abolishing tests for TB that were introduced in August 2010, it has emerged that the Health Authority- Abu Dhabi (Haad) are continuing to insist that expats do have TB x-ray tests in order to renew visas. Although Dubai and other emirates have stopped carrying out the tests, it appears that Haad have chosen to apply their own rules. Clarifying the situation Dr Mariam al Mulla from the office for communicable diseases in Abu-Dhabi revealed that both new residents and those seeking to renew their visas would be required to undergo the tests: "[This is] in order to increase the detection of TB cases, treat them as early as possible and trace their contacts to reduce the risk of transmission in the community," she said.

"Generally, if the applicant is considered unfit based on the test results, then Haad's responsibility is to notify the Ministry of Interior for their action," she added.

Elsewhere in the emirates, expats in Dubai will only be required to have a blood test to renew their visa. Confirming this, Dr Hassan Shurie, from the DHA's medical fitness department, said: "We have effectively implemented the new law since November 2010.

"As per Law No 28 of 2010, TB testing is a part of the medical fitness requirement for those people who are getting their work permit or residency visa for the first time. This no longer applies for renewal of visas," he said.

Expats who cancel their visa or change their sponsor, move elsewhere in the world and then wish to return to the UAE under a new visa will be required to attend a chest X-ray.

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