A long-awaited plan that requires employers to provide health insurance for all their workers was approved by Dubai’s ruler in late November. First mooted in 2009, the plan will make employers responsible for providing at least an “essential benefits package” for every worker.

The scheme, which comes into effect next year and will be rolled out in several phases by 2016, will also eventually make it mandatory for every national, resident and visitor in Dubai to have health coverage. According to official estimates, two million people are currently not insured in the country.

The government will remain responsible for the coverage of local citizens.