Restrictions denying entry to expatriates

Published 2019-12-10 08:15

On 25 November, the Kingdom of Kuwait added diabetes, a non-contagious health problem, to its existing list of contagious diseases that prevents expats from living in the country. This, however, is not an unusual move. A lot of countries deny entry to expats having specific medical conditions...

Expats living with diabetes will now not be able to move to Kuwait. Why? The reason provided by Kuwait authorities is to ease financial pressure on its Ministry of Health due to constantly rising costs of medical care for expats. The move is also defended as preventative namely to limit expat liabilities in the country.

Other financially motivated medical restrictions

Kuwait’s decision is not a completely strange development. A few years ago, Qatar, because of financial pressure on its healthcare system, decided to disallow expats that suffer from kidney diseases. Another country falling in the category of managing medical conditions in relation to its financial situation is Australia. Incoming expats who suffer from any long-term health condition, including HIV, are assessed according to the financial cost they will place upon the Australian health system. 

The problem with this financially motivated approach is that more and more diseases, whether contagious or not, can be added to lists preventing expats. It is very probable that other countries experiencing financial difficulties will also follow this example.  

Restrictions because of Contagious Diseases

Many countries already apply restrictions on expatriates for medical conditions like Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C, and HIV/Aids. Middle Eastern and North African countries are most strict in applying restrictions on expats based on the mentioned medical conditions and expect certified medical documents before allowing long-term stay in their countries. In addition to Kuwait and Qatar, countries like Iran, Iraq, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Syria refuse entry and will deport expats testing positive for AIDS or other contagious diseases. Israel and Tunisia expect from long-stay expats to provide medical certificates and to undergo blood testing. 

. Some countries do not expect medical examinations beforehand but will still deport expats if they test positive for the mentioned diseases. Among others they include Bangladesh, China, and Malaysia, Countries like Singapore and Japan do not demand medical certificates beforehand but require medical exams by expats shortly after arrival. In these countries tests are done for tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis, and malaria, and those not passing the tests will be deported.

AIDS Restrictions

Restrictions on expats suffering from AIDS are less than Tuberculosis and Hepatitis. Those countries that are strict on AIDS, in addition to the abovementioned, are as follows:

In the Caribbean, expats suffering from AIDS are not allowed in Cuba, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

In Asia the only country that deports expats on the basis of AIDS is North Korea. China does not deport expats suffering from AIDS but prevents expats from entering if they suffer from infectious diseases like leprosy, venereal disease, and tuberculosis. China also expects health examinations prior to or within six months after arriving in the country. 

Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia are the countries in Eastern Europe that restrict entry of long-term expats on the basis of AIDS. Expats found to be HIV-positive are also expelled. 

Latin America places no restrictions on short-term stays but Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay expect expats to do HIV-tests on arrival and will refuse resident permits if these expats test positive.  

In North America, both the USA and Canada have much more liberal approaches to AIDS sufferers who are allowed as long as they can prove that they use prescription antiretroviral medicine. Canada also wants medical proof of the state of the sickness before allowing long-term stay.

Brunei, Bhutan, and Malaysia, in addition to mention countries in the South & South East Asia region, also apply AIDS-restrictions on long-term stays. Brunei requires all travelers entering the country to complete a Health Declaration Card which is to be submitted to the Officer-In-Charge (MOH) upon disembarkation.

Sub-Saharan African countries that place restrictions on expats based on AIDS are Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan, and Tunisia.

In Western & Central Europe, Poland is most restrictive and demand mandatory HIV-testing for any visit beyond 90 days. Hungary will even expel an expat if he refuses to be treated for HIV. Other European countries are less strict.

Restrictions based on Criminal offences 

Aside from medical conditions, criminal offences are another reason that expats may be denied entry to a country. 

The USA is most forceful in applying restrictions to prevent expats entering based on criminal offences. Any “moral turpitude” offence implying a crime against the standard norms of the USA will result in deportation. USA Customs won’t hesitate to turn away and deport prospective expats who were previously found guilty of crimes which include drug smuggling, fraud, theft and assault, arson, blackmail, bigamy, and forgery. To be pre-emptive, the USA expects declarations of previous offences and an indication whether sentences were served. 

The EU is applying more relaxed measures but expect expats to report criminal history, failure of which will result in their deportation.

Australia and New Zealand apply strict measures and any expat who served a criminal sentence of 12 months and longer are denied entry. 

In addition to the above, countries such as Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, and South Africa also require a police certificate from visitors with previous criminal convictions. 

Finally, those meeting UN-recognized criteria of being a terrorist should not even try to leave their host country, never mind entering another.