Not long ago medical insurers were licking their lips at the prospect of the United Arab Emirates, where the authorities were set to make medical cover compulsory for their huge expatriate populations. Cover was to be provided only by licensed providers (and brokers).

dubai expat dating sites-12dubai expat dating sites-15

If it wasn't on the visa, you risked having to take a flight out of the country.

Competition between providers in a market so well signalled was fearsome - which translated into good deals for expats.

But Dubai, which lacks Abu Dhabi's oil reserves, equivocated.

When the 2008 global financial crisis hit, the emirate formally postponed its "compulsion" plan.

It didn't want to exacerbate the exodus of its expat population.

The emirates have been generous towards foreign nationals.

Historically, their medical services have run an open-door policy.

But by the Nineties, the expatriate working population was swamping the healthcare system.

(Eighty per cent of Dubai's population is foreign, and there is a high proportion of expatriate workers in Abu Dhabi.) When their own citizens could not find a hospital bed, the emirs ordered a rethink.