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Tue 24 Jun 2008 04:00 AM

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Free zone deal prompts payday for Cedars

Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) has sealed a deal to outsource all its visa medical requirements to a Dubai-based healthcare provider.

Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) has sealed a deal to outsource all its visa medical requirements to a Dubai-based healthcare provider.

Under the exclusive agreement, all current and future employees of any company based in the free zone will now undergo mandatory visa medicals at Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital.

The close proximity of the hospital, said Fatma Salem, executive vice president, operations department, Jafza, will literally bring visa check-ups to the doorstep of residents.

The move is aimed at cutting the time employees spend attending visa checks, she said.

"It will save time and efforts for employees seeking to conduct the medical tests required for new or renewal of residence and employment visas."

As one of the region's biggest and fastest-growing free zones, the Jafza arrangement will mean a sizeable and ongoing source of revenue for Cedars. It is thought to be one of the largest tie-ups in Dubai to date for visa testing.

In response, the hospital has announced it will establish a devoted medical testing facility open to all Jafza company employees six days a week.

In a statement, Dr Adnan Kaddaha, chairman of Cedars said: "Cedars has always partnered with Jebel Ali free zone on various levels, whether it is medical checkups or tests for companies' staff. Now we are proud to take this partnership to a new level.

"The hospital will work in close co-operation with the Jafza management to avoid wasted man hours."

Jafza has more than 6,000 companies operating within the zone, and one in seven people working in Dubai are employees at a company based there.

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